American Red Cross offers cold weather safety tips

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ILLINOIS - Temperatures across the nation have dipped below normal ranges, and in response, the American Red Cross is offering ten helpful tips that you can use to keep yourself and loved ones safe in cold weather.

- You can wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm.  Wearing a hat and gloves can also help you retain body heat.

- Don't forget to bring your pets indoors.  If your pets cannot come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can access unfrozen water.

- Make sure all fluids in your vehicle are at the proper level, and that your gas tank is full.  Also, be sure to include a disaster kit and an extra blanket in your trunk in case you become stranded.

- Protect your home's pipes by running water, even at a trickle.  This can help to stop the pipes from freezing.  You can also open your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let warmer air circulate around the plumbing.

- If you use a space heater, place it on a hard, level surface at least three feet away from any flammable materials.

- Before leaving the room or going to bed, be sure to turn off any space heaters and make sure fireplace embers have been extinguished.

- Never use a stove or over to heat your home.

- If you decide to use your home's fireplace, use a metal or glass fire screen to catch sparks and rolling logs.

- Never operate a generator inside your home, including in your garage and basement.

- Don't hook the generator up to your home's wiring.  The safest way to use a generator is to connect equipment you wish to use directly to the outlets on the generator.

For more preparedness information, visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare
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