It is a chilly morning across Stephens County and northeast Georgia.
With Winter making its presence felt, Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens is offering some tips to help keep you and your home safe during cold weather.
Hudgens said one thing to remember is to take steps to try to avoid frozen pipes.
“Open your kitchen cabinets and leave the doors under the sink open, same thing with bathroom cabinets,” said Hudgens. “Being closed off and having an outside wall, they can freeze and then when they thaw they will burst and you will have a mess on your hands.”
Hudgens also encouraged people to have their home heating unit checked annually to make sure it is working properly and make sure all fuel-burning appliances and fireplaces are properly vented.
For those using space heaters for additional heat, Hudgens said those individuals need to be particularly careful.
“If it is electric, keep curtains and anything combustible away from it,” said Hudgens. “If you use a kerosene heater, only use K-1 kerosene. Do not put gasoline in it. You are just asking for a major fire or explosion.”
Last but not least, Hudgens said people need to make sure they have an adequate number of smoke alarms in their home and that the alarms are working.
“Most (fire) fatalities happen between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. when people are asleep and they did not have a working smoke alarm,” said Hudgens.
Hudgens said that if a home is damaged, people should contact their insurance agent or insurance company immediately and secure their property to prevent or reduce further damage.
Meanwhile, Stephens County may just be dealing with the cold this morning, but some areas to the north and west dealt with a little more than that.
Georgia Department of Transportation Spokesperson Teri Pope said that crews were overnight and this morning and working in Habersham, Rabun, Towns, Union, White, Dawson, and Lumpkin counties.
She said crews in those mountain counties ran into patchy black icing this morning and overnight.