Cold weather and dangerous wind chills are expected to grip our region over the next couple of days. Make sure you and your family are prepared.

As temperatures drop this winter, The American Red Cross offers steps people can take to stay safe during the cold weather.

1. Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.

2. Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.

3. Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away.

4. Don’t catch fire! If you are using a fireplace, use a screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

5. Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.

6. Better safe than sorry. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.

7. The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.

8. Use generators outside. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.

Make sure you stay up-to-date with the latest forecasts posted on our website, and please stay warm and safe!