BENTON COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES NEWS RELEASE -- The coldest temperatures of the season will are due to arrive in the Mid-Columbia Friday evening. The National Weather Service issued a Wind Chill Warning for several counties in Eastern Washington. This is in effect from 7pm Friday evening through 10am Saturday morning. Wind chill values will range from 20 to 25 degrees below zero.
· Check the heat in your house now, before the temperature drops below freezing. Turn on the furnace and make sure it’s in good working order.
· Keep a fire extinguisher handy. House fires increase as people turn on space heaters and use wood stoves.
· Do not use charcoal or gas grills indoors.
· Never use an electric generator indoors, inside the garage, or near the air intake of your home because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
· Never place space heaters close to flammable objects, such as drapes or bedding or on top of furniture or near water.
· Check to make sure garden hoses are disconnected from faucets outside your home.
· Wrap pipes, especially those near cold outer walls or in attics or crawl spaces. Learn how to shut off water valves, in case a pipe bursts.
· Get rock salt or sand for traction on ice.
· Make sure your pets have adequate shelter.
· Fill your gas tank before the snow falls.
· Check antifreeze levels, the heater and defroster, tires, brakes and exhaust system. Talk to your favorite mechanic if you have questions.
· Create an emergency kit for your car, even if you’re not going far. Include non-perishable food, blankets, warm clothing, snow shovel, sand for traction, a battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
· Dial 5-1-1 before you leave to check your route for any road closures.
· Make sure you know about any restrictions, such as carrying tire chains.
· When going outside, dress in several light layers, instead of one heavy one.
· Wear appropriate footwear, a hat and mittens.
· Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia, which include slurred speech, disorientation, uncontrollable shivering and drowsiness.
· Don’t forget your pets. They get cold as well.