Life-Saving Tips To Keep Your Family, Pets + Home Safe In Cold Weather

To reach as many people with this article as possible, I'm going to avoid using all of the colorful four-letter words I prefer to use when describing cold temperatures, brutal wind chills, and deadly winter forecasts, but just know, I'm screaming, FU*K THIS SH!T, on the inside.

For many, including myself, the Polar Vortex Express is already barreling in. Deadly, brutally cold temperatures are about to ravish the USA. Unprecedented temps are hitting damn near all of us. Please, take every necessary precaution to keep your family, pets and home safe.

Below are a few essential Life-Saving Tips To Keep Your Family, Pets + Home Safe In Brutal Cold Temperatures:

1. Load up on layers. Wear layers of lightweight clothing while inside to stay warm. When you go outside, go all out! Cover all exposed skin and wear warm waterproof shoes. Parents, if you're not covered in sweat and feel like you've had one hell of a workout after bundling up the kids, then you're doing something wrong. Do not mess with this cold. Frostbite hits fast and hard. NEVER go out without gloves and a hat, they prevent the loss of essential body heat.

2. Protect your pets: I don't care if Cujo is chained in your backyard, bring his ass in! Ok, fine, if Cujo must stay outside, provide shelter, blankets, fresh UNFROZEN water and extra love.
The ASPCA recommended during cold spells:
  • Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
  • Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt, and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in the wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
  • Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. Also, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

3. Don't space out on space heaters. Space heaters are dangerous AF, take all necessary precautions when using one; Place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable AT LEAST three feet away. ALWAYS turn off space heaters and unplug them before leaving the room or going to bed-- Children may turn them on without you knowing, unplug them for extra protection.
5. FIRE IN THE HOLE! If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs. Make sure embers are completely out before going to sleep or leaving the house. Smokers, that nasty-ass can of butts by your backdoor? That can is a fire hazard, it causes many, many house and apartment complex fires when a lit ciggy is tossed in resulting in a ciggy-butt bonfire disaster. Move those butts at least three feet from your house.
6. Protect your pipes. I know running water, even at a trickle, looks like money slipping down the drain, but it's nothing compared to the plumber's bill. Remember, you are riding out a storm, not making life changes. Bite the bullet and open the taps. Another great way to protect the pipes is by opening the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to reach the plumbing hiding behind them. NOTE: Move harmful cleaners and chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.

7. Hardcore heat the house. Turn up the heat and keep it there day and night. It may cost a few more dollars on your bill, but, a broken pipe bill will make you throw up. NOTE: Creativity is not key. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. DO NOT light a small fire in a safe space. DO Layer on the blankets and phone a friend.
8. Care for the car- Check tires, wipers, antifreeze and never go below a quarter of a tank.  Keep a winter safety kit in the trunk that includes a flashlight, battery-jump box, water and a blanket.
9. GENERATORS ARE NOT FOR GARAGES! Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage. NOTE: Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
10. Love Thy Neighbor. Check on your neighbors and make sure they are at a minimum alive. This brutal cold can be hell on the elderly. Look out for those awesome people. You do realize, not only will you be elderly one day, you too will be a twenty-year-old at heart trapped in an old-ass body, be cool to them, because they are cool AF.

BONUS TIP: New Year's Eve Party-goers, getting wrecked-ass-wasted on New Year's Eve and frolicking outside in a drunken stupor is No Bueno. Booze and cold temps= Bad news. Stay layered up and don't think because you're boozed up you're warm and cozy. Not. Even. Close. Alcohol dilates warm blood vessels near the skin creating the impression of warmth, all the while it's lowering your core body temperature!

Please share this article with friends and family in the path of brutal temps, it could save their family, pet, neighbor, pipes, sanity...


April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit