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Police Chief Scott D. Benton and Fire Chief Timothy J. Grenno would like to provide the community with several important tips to stay safe and warm as temperatures continue to drop this winter.
"Now that the really cold weather is here, it's important for our residents to try and limit outdoor activities for the whole family, including pets," Chief Grenno said. "Wintertime can be a fun time of year, especially when it snows. But, we want kids and adults to remember to layer up when they do go outside."
To stay safe, follow these tips from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and Whitman Police and Fire:
• If outside, dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing instead of a single heavy layer. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat, mittens (not gloves) and sturdy waterproof boots to protect your extremities. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
• For your car, check your antifreeze, battery, defroster, windshield wipers, wiper fluid and other vehicle equipment to make sure they are ready for winter driving.
• Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel, as well as alternate emergency heating equipment in case you lose electricity. There are many resources available for low-income residents who meet certain requirements. National Grid and Eversource offer discounted rates on services to those who are eligible. The state's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program can help certain households pay for a portion of their heating bills.
• When utilizing alternate heating sources, such as an emergency generator, your fireplace, wood stove, or space heater, take necessary safety precautions:
— Keep a fire extinguisher handy and ensure everyone knows how to use it properly. — Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven or charcoal barbecue grill. — Make sure all heating devices are properly ventilated and always operate a generator outdoors and away from your home. Improper heating devices can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup in the home. — Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause flu-like illness or death. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 immediately, get the victim to fresh air and open windows.
• Check on your elderly neighbors or any neighbors that may live alone.
"No one should be left out in the cold during the winter. We ask our residents to watch out for each other and luckily we have some fantastic people in Whitman," Chief Benton said. "If you know of someone who might be struggling to keep the heat on, there are resources available."