It's only getting colder in Shawnee County. Here's how to stay safe at home and on the road.
Wearing multiple layers, staying hydrated and a careful approach to extension cords are some of the ways Shawnee County officials are asking the public to prepare for cold weather.
“What you see outside right now is pretty much what you are going to see for the next eight to 10 days,” said Errin Mahan, interim director of the Shawnee County Emergency Management department.
At 11 a.m. Monday, temperatures were hovering around 10 degrees with wind chills making the weather outside feel like minus 6 degrees. Future forecasts have the wind chill making the temperature feel like minus 13 degrees on Saturday.
Experts say you need a weather emergency kit.
Should the kits be different for my vehicle and my home?
Mahan urged everyone to have an emergency preparedness kit handy for their vehicle and their home. The kits will slightly differ depending whether you are on the road or on the couch, he said.
A kit for a home should include blankets, nonperishable food items, a list of emergency contacts and flashlights rather than candles. He said flashlights reduce the fire risk.
A kit for a car should include similar items, but Mahan said to include a brightly colored piece of cloth "to make sure the plow trucks don’t cover up your vehicle.”
What are some things I should avoid doing?
Mahan said people shouldn't use ovens to heat their home and should plug space heaters directly into the wall, rather than using an extension cord.
“(Extension cords) can increase the resistance, which can cause more heat through the cord, which can cause house fires,” he said. “Try to plug those space heaters directly into a wall outlet.”
What should I do if my heat isn’t working?
Mahan said keeping people in the same room with blankets is one way to combat the cold without heat in your home. But if the heat won’t be on for several hours, he recommends individuals find a community center or common public area to keep warm.
If you do venture outside, Mahan said to plan ahead and wear hats with multiple layers of clothing. He also recommended people stay hydrated.
“We just ask everybody to be safe,” Mahan said.