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Local

Deep freeze on the way in Grundy County

Red Cross offers ways to stay safe during winter weather

The winter storm that blanketed the area overnight on Thursday left behind about 4.5 inches of snow. The storm left a layer of ice and snow in trees and roadways throughout Grundy County, and made for slippery conditions along roads in some less populated areas.

But that was just part of the weather picture for the next few days.

The Grundy County Emergency Management Agency notified the public on Thursday afternoon that a wind chill advisory was in effect until 10 a.m. on Friday morning. Wind chills are expected to reach as cold as 20 degrees below zero, causing a risk of frost bite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

The American Red Cross issued the following safety tips for the cold snap:

Heat your home safely

It’s that time of year when many people resort to space heaters and other heating sources to keep their homes warm. Home heating is the second leading cause of fires in this country. To reduce the risk of heating-related fires, the Red Cross recommends these steps:

• All heaters need space. Keep children, pets and things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.

• If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as a ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets - never into an extension cord.

• Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace. 

• Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.

• Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.

Stay safe outside

During cold weather events, remember to wear layers of clothing, a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots.. Also remember to be careful when shoveling, and check on neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.

Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.

Pets should be brought indoors.

Safe travels

Stay off the road if possible during severe weather. If you must drive in winter weather, follow these tips:

• Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road.

• Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways

• Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.

• Don’t pass snow plows.

• Ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways.

Grundy County EMA has a free interactive app, available on Android and Apple operating platforms for residents to use for weather alerts and other information. The app sends push notifications of alerts and emergency information directly to your wireless device.

Grundy County EMA also offers NIXLE Alerts, which sends alerts to your wireless devices via text and e-mail to alert the public of weather alerts, urgent situations, emergency instructions and community information.

Residents can sign up to NIXLE at local.nixle.com/register or text their zip code to 888777.

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