ACFR advises caution during upcoming cold weather

Press release from Alachua County

Severe weather preparedness can reduce the negative impact of freeze conditions and fire hazards on personal property and keep your family safe. 

Cold temperatures dramatically increase the occurrence of home fires, in part due to cooking and heating activities. If using a space heater or similar appliance, be sure to plug only one into an electrical outlet at a time and keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the heat source. Unplug space heaters before leaving the house or going to bed, and never attempt using an oven or stovetop to warm your home. If using a heating appliance, it is recommended that families also install carbon monoxide indicators and test their effectiveness monthly. 

For outdoor fires, remove pine needles and dry leaves from around your home and keep campfires at least 25 feet away. Ensure the fire is completely turned off or put out before leaving the backyard. Move grills away from flammable materials and stay with the grill the entire time you are cooking. Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep it outside at least 10 feet from your home or nearby buildings. 

Pipes also run the risk of damage in temperatures at or below 20 degrees Farenheight. A frozen pipe may burst, which is a costly repair. Cover your exterior pipes to prevent them from freezing using heavy insulation. 

Lastly, be sure to bring pets indoors this weekend, as well as any warm-weather foliage that may suffer damage in the extreme cold.