WESTFORD — An arctic airmass will make its way through Massachusetts this weekend, where temperatures can feel nearly 30 below zero in some regions. Residents can take a number of steps to prepare for the extreme cold.
Residents seeking heat can find warming centers at the J.V. Fletcher Library and Cameron Senior Center. The J.V. Fletcher Library is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The Cameron Senior Center is open until 4 p.m. on Friday.
Residents seeking a warming center outside of these hours should call 211 for further information.
Heating your home
Avoid using an oven or gas burner to heat your home. Both are a carbon monoxide hazard in a closed environment.
Electric space heaters can provide quick reprieve from the cold. Keep them away from curtains and avoid placing them on carpet. Unplug electric heaters before bed and when not in use.
If using a wood stove, pellet stove or fireplace, maintain a three-foot distance around the fireplace or stove of anything that could burn.
Pipes can freeze over the next few days. Residents can avoid frozen pipes by:
- Allowing a warm water trickle from your faucet throughout the day to keep water moving through the pipes.
- Keep the cabinet below your sink open to allow heat to enter.
- Maintain a normal level of heat throughout the day in your household.
- Insulate pipes in uninsulated areas, such as a garage.
- Seal any leaks and shut off your water main valve if a pipe bursts.
Homeowners and renters can apply for heating assistance if they meet income eligibility requirements. Westford’s local agency is Community Teamwork, Inc. Residents can apply in-person at their local agency or through an online application.
Protecting yourself, your pets and your property
The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services provides a number of tips to keep yourself, your pets and your property protected.
Wear several layers of warm clothing. Multiple layers of light clothing provide greater insulation than one layer of heavy clothing.
Wear water-resistant clothing if possible and if possible, keep outdoor trips short.
If outdoors, watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes a number of symptoms for both.
- Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, slurred speech and fumbling hands in adults, as well as bright red skin in infants. If symptoms are severe, call 911.
- Signs of frostbite include redness or pain in any skin area, a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels firm or waxy as well as numbness. If symptoms are detected, seek medical care.
Officials are urging residents to check-in on elderly residents during the cold snap.
“If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pets,” according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
If traveling, keep emergency blankets and clothing in your vehicle.
Maintain a fully charged battery and check your tire pressure. If driving an electric car, warm your battery while the car is plugged in, according to AAA Northeast.
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