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Here’s How To Keep Yourself, Your Pet And Your Home Warm During This Brutal (And Deadly) Cold Snap

Winter is bringing its worst this week. Stay inside if you can. If you do go out, shovel out your hydrant.

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LOGAN SQUARE — Chicagoans are used to chilly winters, proud to overcome them even. But this week will see shockingly cold, dangerous weather.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will see extreme cold that could make it feel as cold as 50 degrees below zero, according to the National Weather Service. Wednesday will be so chilly it’s expected to break records. CPS threw in the towel late Monday, canceling classes for Wednesday to keep kids, teachers and staffers safe.

One tip for making it through the week? Maybe just don’t go outside.

But if you gotta go out, here’s how to stay safe:

How to Dress

  • Exposed skin can become frostbitten in as quickly as 10 minutes during the worst of this week’s weather, so cover up and stay inside as much as possible.
  • The National Weather Service advises people who do go outside to wear a warm hat, a face mask, three or more layers of upper-body clothing (including one insulating layer), gloves, waterproof boots and two or more layers of lower-body clothing.
  • Got a pet? If you have to take them outside, remember to put booties over their feet so their pads aren’t hurt by salt or the chemicals used to melt ice on the sidewalks and roads, according to the ASPCA. Rubbing petroleum jelly on their pads before going outside also offers some protection.

Here, dogsledder Blair Braverman shows all the layers she wears to keep warm in extreme cold:

At Home

  • Don’t use a stove or oven to heat your home, according to Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. You also shouldn’t use an electric generator or internal combustion engine indoors or in an enclosed space.
  • Try to clear snow and ice off your meters, which can help during an emergency, according to Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas. If you suspect there’s a natural gas leak, leave the area and call the companies at 866-556-6005.
  • If you are using a space heater, follow the instructions that came with it and make sure the room is ventilated, according to Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.
  • Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, according to the Chicago Fire Department.
  • Letting a faucet run can keep your pipes from freezing.

Outside

  • If you see a fire hydrant covered in snow, shovel it out. “The faster firefighters locate and hook up to a hydrant, the faster they have continuous water,” the Chicago Fire Department said in a tweet. “Please make sure the hydrants in your block are shoveled out and easy to find. It saves time and that can save lives!”
  • Need to go somewhere warm? The city runs several warming centers. Click here for a full list. The Chicago Park District is also using more than 60 field houses as warming centers. Click here for a list of those spots.
  • Chicagoans are legally required to shovel their sidewalks, but that can be a dangerous endeavor. Here’s how you can stay safe if you need to shovel.
  • Avoid the lakefront, especially if you have a pet. Police needed to rescue a man who went after his dog when the dog slipped into Lake Michigan at Foster Beach this weekend.
  • If possible, check on neighbors, especially those who are elderly, to ensure they are doing OK.
  • When traveling, know where you’re going and check the CTA to ensure your buses and trains are moving. The CTA is working to keep service moving, the agency tweeted, but riders can look at its Twitter for information about delays.

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