While winter can be a wonderful time of year, the cold weather and icy conditions can present challenges and treacherous hazards. Planning for the problems that winter weather poses can help ensure the safety of your family and all Hempstead Town residents this season.

Winterizing your car and equipping it with all-season tires, snow tires or chains are easy precautions you can take to stave off trouble on roads. However, it is best to limit your travel during inclement weather. To avoid unnecessary travel, consider stocking several days' worth of food in your home so you do not have to grocery shop during icy or snowy conditions.

Cold, damp weather can also exacerbate a wide variety of ailments.

Whenever venturing outside, avoid overexertion, limit the duration of time you spend outdoors and dress warmly. Furthermore, keep a supply of extra blankets on hand in the event of a heating system failure in your home.

Many people try to complement their home heating system with alternative warming devices. Unfortunately, many of these methods put families at great risk of home fires. It is extremely important you do not use your stove or oven, kerosene lanterns or outdoor camping stoves to heat your home or apartment. Additionally, keep space heaters at least three feet away from combustibles, such as clothing, drapes, curtains or furniture. All space heaters and other appropriate heating devices must be provided with adequate ventilation. If you are unsure if your home or apartment meets ventilation requirements, check the manufacturer's literature included in the device's packaging.

In the case of a heating system emergency, knowing who to call can make all the difference. HEAP (Home Emergency Assistance Program), a program that helps low-income families pay heating bills, can be reached at 565-HEAP (4327). Tenants with complaints about heat provided by landlords should contact the Nassau County Department of Health at 571-3679. For a gas emergency, residents should call National Grid at 1-800-490-0045, and residents with an electric emergency should call LIPA at 1-800-490-0025.

While many attribute these precautions to common sense, they may save your life or the life of a loved one. Please remain aware of the dangers winter can present and take care of yourself and your family this season.

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