With the National Weather Service predicting colder temperatures through Wednesday night, Placer County has issued a reminder to be prepared. “Residents and visitors need to be aware of the dangers of very cold weather and take necessary steps to stay warm and safe,” said Dr. Richard Burton, Placer County Public Health Officer. The Gathering Inn, a faith-based community organization, provides overnight accommodation for those in need of shelter. It will increase its normal capacity over the next few nights to ensure all are accommodated, and Placer County is cooperating with them to provide additional assistance, if needed. “We urge everyone who needs a place to stay warm to use these or other resources,” said Burton. “It is also very important that people check in with family members, friends and neighbors, especially those who are elderly, ill or medically fragile, to assure they are warm and safe.” Pets outdoor may also need assistance, and should be brought inside if possible. Placer County Animal Services will provide temporary shelter for companion animals whose owners are staying in the shelters. Horses, livestock or other large animals should be protected from extreme cold. Here are additional precautions the county is advising residents to take whenever temperatures turn cold: · Make sure an emergency kit is up to date, and includes a battery-operated radio, flashlights and batteries, extra blankets and warm clothing, plus ready-to-eat food and water, particularly in case there is a power failure. · Be safe with cooking and heating. Don't use devices intended for outside use, such as barbecues, inside a house as they can produce deadly carbon monoxide. · Keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of fire and learn how to shut off water valves in case pipes freeze. Keep an adequate stock of safe fuel for heating or cooking. · Dress for the weather, with layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Include mittens, which are warmer than gloves, a hat and a scarf to cover your face and protect your lungs if you go outside. · When traveling, make sure the vehicle has half a tank of gas, good tires, and tools such a shovel, scraper and blankets. Make sure the car is winterized and tell people where you are going. · Recognize the symptoms of exposure. Confusion, dizzyness, exhaustion and shivering are signs of hypothermia. Skin discoloration or numbness can be signs of frostbite. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms. · If wet and overexposed to extremely cold temperatures, remove any wet clothing and immediately warm up with a blanket and by consuming warm fluids such as soup. Avoid caffeine or alcohol. Although Placer County is not expecting a great deal more moisture in the next few days, some precipitation may occur later in the week, a release from the county states. The county suggests staying informed and monitorring the weather on TV and radio, through newspapers or by going online. Placer County Office of Emergency Services will coordinate any County response should an emergency situation arise.