As we make our way through this barrage of frigid temperatures in the northeast, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is reminding us that our friends and neighbors may be in need of some help, so take a moment to check on them and see that they are safe and warm. Also, don’t forget about your pets and your neighbors pets too. They need a warm place to get in from the cold and wind, and they need water to stay hydrated. Frostbite and hypothermia is a real possibility for those without proper protection from the cold. Frostbite can occur in as little as 30 minutes for unprotected skin. There are other dangers too, such as an increased risk of fires from unsafe or improper use of alternative heating sources or people trying to thaw frozen pipes with blowtorches or similar devices. Carbon monoxide poisoning from improper use of alternative heating sources is also a potential danger, as is vehicle failure and water main breaks and pipe bursts. MEMA says that you should call 911 if you have an emergency yourself or suspect someone else does… or if a pet needs to be checked on.

Safety and preparedness tips for extreme cold, including safety information for pets, homes and cars are available at: http://www.mass.gov/service-details/extreme-cold-safety-tips. Information on protecting homes from heating fires is available at: http://www.mass.gov/keepwarmkeepsafe.