In anticipation of the extremely cold weather arriving this weekend, the Town of Webster will offer Warming Centers at various locations. Warming Centers will be available Friday and Saturday at the following locations:
- Gladys E. Kelly Public Library – 2 Lake Street
- Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- Webster Fire Department – 55 Thompson Road
Extreme Cold Safety Tips
- Limit outdoor time for the whole family, including pets.
- If you go outside, dress in layers and cover exposed skin. Wear a hat and mittens. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- When outside, stay active to maintain body heat and take frequent breaks from the cold.
- Be a good neighbor. Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially people who are elderly, those with medical conditions, and those who may need extra help.
Extreme cold can cause frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is the freezing of the skin and body tissue.
- Symptoms: Loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes, face, and the tip of the nose.
- Treatment: Get the person to a warm location. Cover exposed skin, but do not rub the affected area. Seek medical attention immediately.
- Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature and is life-threatening.
- Symptoms: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss, and slurred speech.
- Treatment: If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°, seek medical attention immediately. Get the person to a warm location. Remove wet clothing. Warm the center of the body first by wrapping the person in blankets or putting on dry clothing. Give them warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the person is conscious.
- Wrap pipes in insulation to prevent them from freezing.
- Turn off water to outside spigots and remove hoses.
- Let a trickle of warm water run from a faucet to keep water moving through your pipes.
- If your pipes freeze, open all faucets all the way, remove any insulation, and heat the frozen pipe with a hair dryer or wrap with towels soaked in hot water.
- In the event of a power outage, you may need to take extra precautions or go to an emergency shelter to stay warm.
In case you lose heat, make sure you have extra blankets, sleeping bags, and warm winter coats in your home. Never turn on the stove for heat. If you plan to use a portable space heater or fireplace, here are some tips:
- Keep anything that can burn, such as bedding, clothing, and curtains, at least 3 feet away from the heater.
- Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off, so if it tips over, it shuts off.
- Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
- Plug portable heaters directly into outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.
- Only use portable heaters from a recognized testing laboratory.
- It is illegal to use portable kerosene heaters in Massachusetts homes.
- Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out.
- Do not burn paper in your fireplace.
- Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home.
- Put cooled ashes outside in a metal container with a lid, at least 10 feet from your home.
Beware of Frozen Pipes
- Keep heat at adequate levels or leave faucets open with a slight drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
- Check for open windows, air vents, and wind drafts near water pipes.
- Seal leaks in the basement foundation where cold air may enter. Stuff holes with insulation. A tiny opening may cause an exposed pipe to freeze.
- Locate the main water shut off valve in your home and mark it for quick identification. Learn how to turn it off, and educate others in your household. If a water pipe bursts, shutting your home’s main valve quickly will minimize flooding and property damage.
- Leave kitchen/sink cabinet doors open if pipes are subject to freezing. This will allow heat to reach the pipes.
- Don’t use an open flame to thaw pipes. If your pipes do freeze, use a hair dryer or rags soaked in hot water to thaw lines.
- Insulate pipes in unheated spaces like garages, basements, and crawl spaces. This will help prevent frozen pipes, avoiding property damage and the costs of repairs. Additionally, insulating hot water pipes will decrease your wait time for warm water.
- Protect your water meter from icy drafts and freezing temperatures. Most frozen meters are caused by drafts from an open basement door or window. Double-check your property for drafts as the cold weather sets in.
- Keep your gas tank 1/2 full.
- Get your car battery checked.
- Maintain tire pressure.
- Get a safety kit packed.
- Tell family or friends if you are traveling.
- Bring extra warm clothing and blankets.