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Stay warm this winter, Franklin County

Across Franklin County Monday, delighted children – and adults – woke to a fresh blanket of snow across the region.

OK, maybe it was a little thin in places to really be considered a blanket, but we know many took the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the weather even we don’t always experience in north Alabama.

In our neck of the woods, we are accustomed to mild winters. Some years we don’t even have to get those heavy coats out of winter storage.

That doesn’t mean, however, that cold never sets in, and we see Monday’s snowfall as a prominent reminder that winter has arrived in full force.

With the potential for frigid temperatures to settle in, we want to remind our readers that a little extra caution is wise. We hope our friends and neighbors in Franklin County will take the necessary steps to stay safe and warm as 2021 begins.

Remembering the four “p’s” will help you weather the weather safely: people, pets, plants and pipes.

PEOPLE

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency encourages people to protect themselves from the cold by layering up when going outside. We hope people will also take the time to be sure elderly family members and neighbors are staying warm, as older adults can lose body heat so quickly that they might not even realize just how cold they are getting, according to the National Institute on Aging.

Reach out to those who might need a little extra help warding off the chill and make sure they can stay toasty warm.

Young children are also more vulnerable in cold weather, so be sure they are bundled up warmly if you have to go outdoors.

PETS

The EMA encourages pet owners to protect their pets by giving them a warm place to sleep and food to eat. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, pets can suffer from chapped paws and dry skin in severe cold, and pets with short hair are especially vulnerable to the cold. Our sweet furry friends burn extra energy trying to stay warm in wintertime, so feeding them a little bit more during cold weather can provide much-needed calories. The best warm place for our pets to sleep is off the floor and away from all drafts; a cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

PLANTS AND PIPES

Plants should be brought indoors as possible and kept away from chilly windows. If a freeze is expected, vulnerable outdoor plants might require covering with towels or blankets.

For those with pipes susceptible to freezing, the EMA recommends opening cabinets under the faucet and let the water slowly trickle until temperatures rise above freezing.

The bottom line is, there is always the potential for bitter cold in these first couple months of the year. Take those necessary precautions to ward off the chill and enjoy a cozy start to 2021.

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