Officials urge safety during below-freezing temperatures

Published 3:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2019

It’s still too far out to be sure of an exact temperature range, but the coldest weather of the season is projected to be just around the corner.

Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing Sunday night into Monday morning and windchill could make it feel like it is in the teens or single digits overnight in Pike County.

With the cold weather, local officials are urging residents to take extra precautions to stay safe from the extreme temperatures.

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Troy Fire Marshal Brandy Cox warns there are actually fire hazards associated with the freezing cold.

“If you have any space heaters or a fire place or gas heater, it’s important that you keep it at least three feet away from any flammable objects,” Cox said. “You don’t want anything near it that could catch on fire. You also want to make sure that any personal heaters are plugged directly into the outlet. They take a lot of electricity and the can blow a circuit and overheat it.”

Residents should also consider bringing outdoor pets inside, Cox said, but if they are left outside, heating lamps should be secured where they can not make contact with flammable materials.

“We have actually seen home fires start that way,” Cox said. “An animal could knock it onto the hay or blankets or whatever you have there or the materials could be pushed up against the lamp.”

Cox said residents should remember that the Troy Fire Department is currently able to give away and even install smoke detectors for free, which could save lives in the event of a fire.

“We are able to give out more than one per home as well if we need to,” Cox said. “We recommend having one in each sleeping area and if you have a multi-story building, having at least one on each floor.”

Fire isn’t the only concern during the cold weather. Some people may need to reach a warming station if temperatures are cold enough.

Troy Parks and Recreation Director Dan Smith said they have not gotten word yet from the Emergency Management Agency to activate a warming shelter, but said the center will be opened if the EMA makes the request. More will be known closer to the cold weather event.

Troy utilities shared nine tips to stay warm and save energy during the extreme temperatures.

  • If you’re feeling chilly, keep a sweater or blanket nearby rather than turning the heat up. Wearing long-sleeved clothing and warm pants is an easy way to stay comfortable without adding to your energy bill.
  • The sun only feels like it disappears during colder months, so you can still use it to your advantage. Keep windows that get direct sunlight open during the day to naturally warm your home. For windows that don’t get sunlight, keep curtains or blinds closed to keep as much heat as possible.
  • A fireplace can be a great way to naturally heat your home during the winter. When the fire isn’t burning, on the other hand, be sure to keep the damper closed, so cold air can’t enter.
  • Check to make sure your home is properly insulated. Outdated insulation means your home could be losing warm air faster and letting in more cold air, giving your heating system extra work.
  • If your home uses an electric water heater, keep it and pipes that run through open spaces wrapped. This way, your water heater will run less often and save on your electric bill.
  • Change your air filters monthly. A clogged filter makes your heater less efficient, meaning it has to work harder – and use more energy – to keep your home at the same temperature.
  • Make sure windows and doors are sealed and have proper weatherstripping. Plugging these small leaks ensures the heat in your home stays put.
  • Installing a programmable thermostat takes the guesswork out of finding the right temperature balance in your home. It also lets you set the temperature to automatically lower when you aren’t at home, saving you money on unnecessary heating.

Take advantage of the free City of Troy customer portal. You’ll be able to track your usage across a given day, week, month, showing you a clear picture of when you home uses the most energy and when it uses the least.