M.E.M.A. Urges Preparation for Freezing Forecast

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (M.E.M.A.) has been notified by the National Weather Service (N.W.S.) that the entire state may see a hard freeze over the next few days. Low temperatures will likely reach the teens and 20s, with many areas potentially dipping down to the single digits from wind chill Wednesday night through Thursday in central and south Mississippi and into Friday for north Mississippi.

M.E.M.A. offers the following tips for people to protect themselves from freezing temperatures:
•Wear several layers of loose fitting, light-weight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing.
•Wear mittens, they are warmer than gloves.
•Wear a hat; body heat is lost through your head.
•Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
•Bring pets inside.
•Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.

And to protect your home:
•Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
•Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
•Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Also keep cabinet doors open to allow heat to reach pipes.
•Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
•If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).

Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
•Antifreeze levels: ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
•Battery and ignition system: should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
•Brakes: check for wear and fluid levels.
•Heater and defroster: ensure they are working properly.
•Lights and flashing hazard lights: ensure they are working properly.
•Gas tank: Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.

M.E.M.A. and county emergency managers will monitor the situation closely and provide updates as necessary.

For detailed preparedness information, contact your county emergency management agency, or go to M.E.M.A.’s website at www.msema.org. The best way to get up-to-date information is to like M.E.M.A. on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

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