Tips for handling the latest cold snap

Residents of the midsection of the nation again head out of the refrigerator into the freezer as temperatures fall into single digits for much of the midweek period. Wind chills below zero are forecast for today.

Staying warm will be a priority. The American Red Cross offers these tips for handling the cold weather

Wearing layers of lightweight clothing – preferably not cotton – makes it easier to regulate heat by doffing or donning layers. Add a coat, hat and gloves or mittens when going outdoors.

Never use a stove or oven to heat a home.

If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep it at least 3 feet away from flammable objects such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.

Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

Never operate a generator inside the home, including the basement or garage.

Don’t connect a generator to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.

Avoid frozen pipes – run water at a trickle to help prevent them from freezing.

Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.

Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.

Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. This may avoid a more costly repair job if the pipes freeze and burst.

If the pipes are frozen, keep the faucet open. As the ice begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.

Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials) or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open-flame device. Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.

Contact a licensed plumber if the frozen area cannot be located, is not accessible or cannot be thawed.

Finally, think warm thoughts. Keep in mind, the beginning of spring is just 57 days away.