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BLOOMINGTON — Bitterly cold weather is expected the next couple of days in Central Illinois and the American Red Cross has steps people can take to stay safe.

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

2. Bring pets indoors. If that’s not possible, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.

3. Avoid frozen pipes — run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.

4. Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home.

5. Space heaters should sit on a level, hard surface and anything flammable should be kept at least 3 feet away.

6. If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

7. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

Learn how to treat cold weather-related emergencies like hypothermia by downloading the free Red Cross First Aid App at redcross.org/apps.

For additional information about winter safety, visit redcross.org.

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