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Being prepared best defense against extremely cold temps

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The first big cold snap hit us this last weekend, making it impossible for anyone to survive if caught outside, whether on foot or if stranded out on the road in your vehicle.

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For safety's sake, is always wise to carry a cell phone; let someone know where you are going and when you expect to arrive; dress according to conditions; and always make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas.

If you do end up stranded in your vehicle it is always best to stay put and run the engine sparingly, starting with 15 minutes every hour and adjusting after that. If the cold is extreme, it may be necessary to keep the engine running continuously as it may not restart if the engine is shut off.

It's also important to keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow and never go to sleep with the engine running because of the threat of carbon monoxide - an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that can be a life threatening problem if your exhaust system is leaking or faulty.

It is also crucial to move all your emergency supplies from the trunk to the inside of the car as soon as possible if you become stranded. Put on warm clothing right away before you get cold. It is easier to stay warm than it is to regain lost warmth. Loosen tight clothing so body heat can circulate. Remove metal jewelry as it can chill you. Check your supplies to see what you have to work with and arrange them in order for their use. This will help you ration them in case you are stranded for a long period of time.

As for equipment, always carry tools such as pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers, and a pocket knife. Carry tire chains, booster cables, a tow rope, gas line antifreeze, and a container of sand.

Being prepared for snow emergencies by making sure you have a proper survival kit and by using care and skill in the event you are stranded, can go a long way in ensuring your own and everyone else's safety.

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