Tips to prepare for cold days ahead

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 28, 2014

By Alexandra Hedrick and Jodi Marze

Picayune Item

With impending, extremely cold weather conditions approaching, here are some suggestions from local experts to protect your family and your pets.

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Coast Electric is reminding its customers of ways to stay safe during the next few days.

April Lollar, media representative with Coast Electric, said, that if enough ice forms on power lines, residents may lose electricity.

“Our crews are ready and all personnel is on standby to respond to any outages the weather may cause,” Lollar said. “Our guys are experienced in working in all kinds of conditions and many have experience working in winter conditions, as they have assisted other co-ops in the past during winter storms. We are preparing and treating this storm just as we would a tropical event.”

Lollar said if the power does go out, don’t use candles because they’re a fire hazard. Instead use battery operated flashlights or lanterns and to use warm clothes and blankets.

She also warns residents not to use generators or appliances that use fuel for heat inside your home or enclosed area. The fumes from these can kill you.

If Coast Electric customers spot a downed power line, they can call 1-877-769-2372, Lollar said.

Residents can report outages or keep track of outages and power restoration by downloading the CE on the Go mobile app or through Facebook and Twitter.

Also with temperatures dipping to below freezing, residents are advised to keep their water faucets running to keep the pipes from freezing. Homes that are off the ground can put insulation around their pipes to keep them from freezing. Outside faucets should also be thickly wrapped in insulation or newspaper.

Pets can suffer during extreme cold weather.

Hypothermia, chaffed paw- pads and poisoning from licking paws can be a few of the challenges your four-legged friend can face.

Picayune Animal Clinic’s Dr. Kevin Smith, recommends keeping animals indoors as much as possible during extreme weather conditions. “When they must go outside, it is better to make it as short of an excursion as possible and wipe their paws when they come back inside to prevent accidental poisoning from anti-freeze and outside contaminates they may track in with them,” Smith said.

East Poplarville Veterinary Clinic’s Gale Harris, DVM added the following tips:

“If it is impossible to bring animals inside, they must have shelter that is facing south and not north,” Harris said. “Keep plenty of dry bedding shavings and hay for bedding and check often to make sure that it doesn’t get saturated. If it is facing south instead of north, it should be ok.”

Harris warns against using hot water bottles for warmth, because they can either scald if they are too hot or freeze once they lose their heat. “Make sure animals that are outside get food and water,” he said. “Keep in mind that cat food gets really cold and cats will not eat cold food, so microwave it prior to putting it out and increase feeding times to twice a day.

“Cats will seek shelter in places like under car hoods so tap the hood prior to starting the engine. I get four cases a winter with cats that have been hurt under the hood.”

Harris also recommends pet owners visit the American Veterinarian Medical Association’s site on cold weather pet safety tips at