Tips to protect people, pets as cold weather approaches

Tips to protect people, pets as cold weather approaches

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - As the capital area experiences chilly temperatures for the first time this fall, the Baton Rouge Fire Department wants to remind residents of some simple cold weather safety tips.

Officials with BRFD say it’s not too early to begin preparing for winter weather and recommend following these ten easy steps you and your family safe.

  1. Make sure your heater or furnace is serviced at least once a year
  2. Have chimneys and vents cleaned and inspected at least once a year
  3. Only use dry seasoned wood in your fireplace or woodstove
  4. Make sure your fireplace screen is metal or heat-tempered glass and is secured and in good condition
  5. Dispose of cooled ashes in covered metal containers and keep them at least 10 feet from the home
  6. Tell children to stay at least 3 feet away from the fireplace and/or space heater. 
  7. Only use space heaters that have automatic shut-offs. 
  8. Only plug space heaters directly into electrical outlets. Do not use extension cords. Place space heaters at least 10 feet from anything flammable. 
  9. Test all of the smoke alarms in your home and make sure they are all working properly. Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, as well as, in and outside each sleeping area. 
  10. Test all of the carbon monoxide alarms in your home and make sure they are all working properly. Place carbon monoxide alarms on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area. 
(Source: Baton Rouge Fire Department)

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is also offering some tips to help protect your pets.

  • Don’t leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops
  • Outdoor pets use more energy to keep warm so they will need more food when it’s cold. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen.
  • If your dog stays outside, provide a doghouse with a raised floor that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in body heat. Cover the floor with a blanket (but only if the dog will not eat it) or maybe straw or wood shavings if available and make sure the door is turned to face away from the wind. 
  • If you’re feeding homeless cats, be sure to provide an insulated shelter for them
  • Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife that may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.
  • Antifreeze has a sweet taste that can attract animals, but it is toxic to them. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze and other household chemicals out of reach.

Pets exposed to freezing temperatures for long periods of time can develop frostbite on their feet or the tips of their ears. Pet owners should watch for skin turning dark, lethargy, or weakness, as those are symptoms the animal has been adversely affected by cold weather. Owners who notice any such symptoms should contact their vet immediately.

If your pet requires medical attention after hours, contact the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The number for the Small Animal Clinic is 225-578-9600, while the number for the Large Animal Clinic is 225-578-9500.

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