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Fairfield County May Plunge Below Zero

If you shoveled your walkway this morning in Fairfield County you're probably happy, as the afternoon sun is melting away the aftermath. But things may get slippery: a very cold arctic air mass is forecast to move into New England. "Temperatures over the weekend are forecast to only reach the teens during the day and may drop as low as 0 to -15 F at night with wind chills below zero for much of the time," said Michele DeLuca of Norwalk's Office fo Emergency Management, in a release. "A very weak clipper system may bring an inch of snow on Sunday."

DeLuca is concerned about "power outages, frozen pipes, fires and other life-threatening events when people use unsafe alternative heat sources and don't take precautions against the cold" and offers the following tips:

Exposure to cold can cause life-threatening health conditions . Avoid serious conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia by keeping warm. Wear a hat, hood, or scarf, as most heat is lost through the head. Wear layers, as they provide better insulation and warmth. Keep fingertips, earlobes and noses covered if you go outside. Keep clothing dry; if a layer becomes wet, remove it. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

Try to stay indoors . Make any trips outside as short as possible. Don't ignore shivering. It's an important first sign that your body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.

Infants and seniors are at increased risk of hypothermia and frostbite . Check on friends, relatives, and neighbors who may need assistance to ensure they are adequately protected from the cold.

If you have pets, bring them inside. If this is not possible, make sure they have a safe and warm shelter and access to non-frozen food and water.

Give space heaters space. Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn, such as curtains. Turn off heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep. Do not use stoves and ovens to heat your residence

Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure alarms and CO detectors are working properly and replace batteries as necessary.

Maintain at least a half tank of gas in your vehicle during the winter season and keep an emergency supply kit in your car.

Do not remain long in idling vehicles that produce carbon monoxide especially in a closed garage. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your garage.

If you lose heat, take measures to trap existing warm air, and safely stay warm until heat returns. Insulate your home as much as possible. Hang blankets over windows and doorways and stay in a well-insulated room while power is out.

If you have a working fireplace , use it for heat and light, but be sure to keep the damper open for ventilation.

For shelter information or referrals, contact 2-1-1.

For more safety tips, go to the city's website . And, by the way, there is more snow in Fairfield County's forecast for Tueday and Wednesday.

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