Temperatures in Eden Prairie and surrounding areas are predicted to dip well below freezing in the next few days, with Accuweather predicting low temperatures of minus 1 to minus 12 degrees Fahrenheit from Saturday to Tuesday.
In preparation for the cold weather, several organizations, including the Eden Prairie Police Department, have issued safety reminders for both people and pets.
The Hennepin Shelter Hotline at 612-204-8200 via Hennepin County has information on warming locations during cold days. The hotline is always available, not just on dangerously cold days. The City of Eden Prairie does not designate specific warming locations during cold weather, but city facilities are open during regular hours for anyone needing shelter.
Heating safety tips
CenterPoint Energy, Minnesota’s largest natural gas utility, has issued the following safety reminders:
- Use space heaters safely. Make sure your space heater has an automatic shut-off, and keep children, pets and all items at least 3 feet away from it. A space heater that uses natural gas, propane or wood should be vented to the outside. Stoves and ovens should never be used for space heating.
- Test your carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke alarms to ensure they work properly. Change batteries regularly. Alarms don’t last forever, so replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Know the signs of CO poisoning. Early symptoms such as headache and fatigue are similar to the flu, but without a fever. Continued CO exposure can lead to more severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, difficulty thinking clearly and fainting. If everyone in a household is experiencing these symptoms, it could be CO poisoning. If you suspect you could have CO poisoning, leave the area immediately, get fresh air and call 911.
- Immediately report a suspected natural gas leak. If you smell the “rotten egg” odor of natural gas, immediately leave on foot, go to a safe location and call both 911 and CenterPoint Energy at 800-296-9815. Don’t use electric switches and outlets, phones (including cell phones), drive or start a car inside or close to the location or do anything that could cause a spark.
Additionally, in response to rising demand for natural gas due to the extreme cold across much of the country, CenterPoint Energy is encouraging its Minnesota customers to temporarily lower their thermostat settings to help conserve energy and save money.
At least through Tuesday, Jan. 16, CenterPoint Energy is asking its customers, if possible, to reduce their thermostat settings to 65 degrees during the day when they are at home and lower the setting an additional 5 degrees when they are asleep or away from home.
According to a press release, “This energy conservation step can help limit the impact of higher natural gas prices on customers’ bills. CenterPoint Energy buys and stores a substantial portion of its natural gas supply before the winter heating season. However, additional purchases must be made in the daily market to meet increased customer demand during cold weather. The price that CenterPoint Energy pays for natural gas is the same price charged to customers, with no markup or profit to the utility.”
EPPD: Keep your car safe
The Eden Prairie Police Department (EPPD) has issued a reminder that warming up your vehicle while you are inside your residence leaves you at risk for car thieves. According to an email from the EPPD, “Every winter cars are stolen that were left running unattended with the keys inside. The most common places for this to occur are driveways and parking lots at apartment complexes, convenience stores and daycares.”
The EPPD advises staying in your car if you must warm it up before driving.
Additional anti-theft tips from the EPPD include:
- Do not leave a spare key in your car.
- Always close and lock all windows and doors.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Avoid leaving valuables inside your car.
Animal Humane Society: Keep your pets safe
The Animal Humane Society of Minnesota shared cold weather safety tips for pets.
- Once temperatures dip into the single digits or below, keep cats indoors at all times and only take dogs outside for quick potty breaks. The time a dog can stay outside comfortably depends on their age, health, size, and breed. Elderly, young, small, and thin-coated animals are particularly susceptible to cold weather.
- If your dog starts lifting their paws or shivering, take them back inside immediately. Ears and paws are particularly vulnerable to frostbite. Be sure to remove all ice, salt, and caked snow from your pet’s paws and coat.
- To protect your dog’s paws, consider using booties or paw wax (be sure to wipe the wax off when back inside). For quick potty breaks, you can also shovel a path in your yard and cover it with straw. The straw keeps the snow off your pet’s paws and keeps waste within reach for easy clean-up.
- Do you know of outdoor cats in your neighborhood? Feral cats are accustomed to living outside and tend to be quite resilient. You can help them stay warm during cold snaps by building an outdoor cat shelter. Feral cats will gravitate toward warm places, so be sure to tap your hood before starting your car to make sure a cat isn’t underneath the car or inside the engine.
- Watch out for antifreeze spills — it’s a sweet-tasting fluid, and one lick can be fatal to animals.
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