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FYP: Preparing for Chilly Conditions

Posted at 4:44 AM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 06:19:23-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- As colder temperatures arrive in the Capital City, leaders are urging you to be prepared.

Temporary cold shelters are opening for those who need a warm place to sleep.

You're also asked to check on neighbors or family members you may need help in these conditions. If you can't reach them, the Tallahassee Police Department can do a welfare check. Call (850) 606-5800.

In your home, you're advised to leave at least one faucet running at a thin stream. This lower the risk for frozen or broken pipe lines. If you experience an issue with your utility services, please call (850) 891-4968.

The City of Tallahassee says the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs will be trickling water out of spigots in all its parks. If you see water running lightly from a pipe, please do not turn it off.

The City also offers this tips for bitter temps:

- Insulate all outside pipes with cloth or a similar material to help prevent freezing. All piping in attics, including those to water heaters, should be protected as well.

- Check to make sure the cover to your water meter fits tightly. If your pipes do freeze, you can use the valve inside the meter box to shut off all the water to the house, helping to prevent indoor flooding when pipes thaw.

- If you have a backflow assembly on your water service line, it, too, may freeze with very cold temperatures. Insulate the assembly properly by wrapping or covering the pipe. Do not cover the bottom relief opening on the underside at the middle of the apparatus to avoid creating other flooding problems.

- Commercial water customers should also wrap any fire lines in their buildings. Disconnect any outside water hoses from spigots, as water trapped inside can freeze and crack the hose.

- The Tallahassee Fire Department advises residents to be extra careful when using supplemental heating units. Make sure all combustible materials, such as drapes or chairs, are at least three feet away from any heating unit.

- To reduce the chance of fire, avoid using flammable liquids to start fireplaces and do not leave a fireplace unattended. Most importantly, check your smoke alarm to make sure it is working properly.

- If you are cold outside, your pet is, too. Tallahassee Animal Services recommends bringing outside pets indoors during cold snaps, especially at night when temperatures dip to their lowest. Additionally, the tethering of animals is prohibited during severe weather occurrences, which includes freezing temperatures.