Central Oregon facing single-digit temperatures

Tips on preparing for the bitter cold

By Andy Zeigert / The Bulletin / @BulletinGrafx


Published Dec 6, 2013 at 12:01AM / Updated Dec 6, 2013 at 11:56AM

Places to get help

• Shepherd’s House, Bend: 541-388-2096; meals, cold-weather shelter

• Bethlehem Inn, Bend: 541-322-8768; meals, cold-weather shelter

• Bend’s Community Center: 541-312-2069; meals

• Family Kitchen, Bend: 312 N.W. Idaho Ave.; meals

• La Pine Community Kitchen: 541-536-1312; meals

• Highland Baptist Church, Redmond: 541-548-4161; cold-weather shelter

• Madras Gospel Mission: 541-475-2064; meals, cold-weather shelter

Places to get help for animals

• Animal control in Bend, Redmond and Deschutes County: 541-693-6911

• Humane Society of Central Oregon (Bend): 541-382-3537

• BrightSide Animal Center (Redmond): 541-923-0882

• Humane Society of the Ochocos (Prineville): 541-447-7178

• Three Rivers Humane Society (Madras): 541-475-6889

With temperatures forecast in the single digits and below for this weekend, take steps to protect yourself and those around you. Below is a checklist for preparing the things you love, from big to small.

• First, warm shelter

• Insulate exposed pipes.

• Insulate foundation vents.

• If you have heavy drapes on your windows, keep them closed to help hold in heat.

• Check doors and windows for drafts, and use plastic sealing or caulk to plug air leaks.

• An old furnace filter can reduce the efficiency of a heating system, so change it before winter sets in.

If you’re heating your home using a fireplace, wood stove or space heater, follow these safety tips:

• Keep a fire extinguisher near the heat source.

• If using a chemical-based space heater like a kerosene heater, make sure the space is adequately ventilated. Never substitute fuel types.

• Don’t place a space heater near items that might catch on fire.

Source: The Bulletin file, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

• Second, a winterized ride

• Do your best to not become stranded. Keep your fuel tank full and always carry a cellphone.

• If you do get stranded, you’ll fare better if you have an emergency kit containing a flashlight, emergency blanket and other supplies. Prepared kits can be purchased at most auto parts stores.

• Check belts, hoses, tire pressure and your car’s antifreeze reservoir.

• Most oil change garages will inspect the essential functions on your car when they change the oil. You’re probably overdue anyway.

Source: HowStuffWorks.com

• Third, warm yourself

• Stay dry and warm, and watch for signs of hypothermia: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, drowsiness. In infants, watch for bright red, cold skin and very low energy.

• If you notice someone with signs of hypothermia, seek medical attention immediately. If medical care is not available, get the victim to a warm, sheltered area and remove wet clothing. Warm the center of the body first using an electric blanket if available, or use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers. Warm beverages can help raise body temperature but do NOT give the person alcohol. Alcohol can cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.

• Dress appropriately for cold weather. Wear a hat and a scarf or knit mask that covers the face and mouth. Wear a coat that has sleeves that are snug at the wrists. Wear mittens or thick gloves. Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing and water-resistant outerwear and shoes.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

• Fourth, four-leggeds

• Keep pets warm and indoors if possible. Even animals with thick fur coats can be susceptible to harsh windchill.

• If a pet must stay outside, make sure it has access to a dry, sheltered place with no draft. It should be large enough for the pet to sit and lie down, but small enough to contain their body heat.

• Be wary that vehicles left outside with engines running can attract animals seeking a warm spot. Be sure to check wheel wells and bang on the hood to scare any animals away that might have taken shelter there.

• Many chemicals used to melt snow can irritate a pet’s paws. Wipe them off with a damp towel when you bring your pet inside.

• Antifreeze is poisonous but because it has a sweet taste, it can attract animals. Keep it out of reach and clean up any spills.

• Remember, pets are social creatures and prefer to be with their owners.

Source: HumaneSociety.org