Colder temperatures are on the way with the National Weather Service forecasting temperatures below freezing arriving in our area by Monday night.

As the weather gets colder and temperatures drop there are several steps that residents can take to protect themselves and their homes from the effects of the cold.

“Number one if you are going to be working outdoors remember to pay attention to the weather and dress in layers. If you are working and you feel like you are getting too hot you can take some layers of clothing off,” Waxahachie Assistant Fire Chief Randall Potter said. “You may be cold early in the morning but as the day goes on you may get hot. If you start sweating underneath that is just going to make you cold. So make sure and dress in layers if it does warm up you can take some of the outer layers off.”

Potter said one big mistake that people make during cold weather is that they don’t think about drinking water as they do during the summer time. Drinking water during the winter months is just as important to keep the body properly hydrated. According to the Mayo Clinic dehydration occurs when a person loses more fluids then they take in. Some of the symptoms can include sleepiness, thirst, dry-mouth, lack of sweating, confusion and dizziness.

“Remember to protect your skin by wearing a cap or a hat and gloves. If it is really bitterly cold people need to put some on to cover the ears,” Potter said. “Your ears will get frostbite quicker than anything.”

Symptoms of frostbit include numbness in your extremities, numbness in your toes and fingers. It is advised when you start not to be able to feel your fingers or toes you need to move into a warmer area. If frostbit does set in call 9-1-1 immediately for assistance.

Apart from protecting yourself, your home is the next thing to be protected in cold weather. One of the first steps is to safeguard your plumbing against the cold. The Federal Emergency Management Agency advises people to winterize their homes by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.

Remove all of the outside hoses from your faucets. Pipes that come out of the ground should be wrapped with a towel and put a five-gallon bucket over it. This helps to keep the heat in that is coming up from the ground. If the outside faucet is connected to the outside wall of home styrofoam covers can be purchased at any area home supply store. To prevent pipes from freezing faucets should be kept at a drip.

The central heating system needs to be checked by a professional in order to maintain optimal performance during colder weather. According to TXU’s website, it is recommended to change your air filters at least every three months and have equipment checked annually by an authorized dealer.

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1451.