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'The day to prepare' | Tips for getting ready ahead of winter weather

Experts said it's best to stay home if you can, but if you must go out during the winter storm, take steps to stay safe.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Ahead of potential winter weather and ice later in the week, emergency personnel are recommending that you prepare your home and vehicles now.

"We’re going to get a lot of rain first and my worry is that will allow some people's guards to be down first," Jordan Yuodis, spokesperson for the Jefferson County Fire Department, said.

"The message today is today is the day to prepare," he added. 

Getting your vehicle ready

Experts said getting ready ahead of time is your best bet to make life easier and stay safe - starting with filling up your car's tank with gas. 

"Always keep that topped off because you never know how long you'll be in traffic or stuck on the side of the road," Chris Hope from Mosby's Towing said. A good rule of thumb is to keep it at least 2/3 of the way full.

Hope advised to pick up extra anti-freeze and windshield wiper fluid. The fluid will help get salt from the road of your windows so you can see. If you have snow or ice on your car, make sure to clear it off of your headlights, taillights, mirrors and windows so you have full visibility.

He added that people should also find a safe place to park their vehicles. 

"I always suggest for people to park it in a garage if they can, carport if they can't," he said. 

If neither a garage nor a carport is possible, Hope said to lift up your windshield wipers so they don't freeze. Then, put a piece of cardboard or a blanket over the windshield to help keep that from icing over. 

RELATED: 'Drive slow': How officials say you should drive during winter weather

Getting your house ready

At Oscar's Hardware, manager Paul Fusseneger said many customers have also been stocking up on things like ice melt and de-icer for keyholes. 

“If you think you might need it, grab it while you can instead of running in last minute," he said. “As it gets closer to when the storm actually starts, people have a hard time finding what they were originally looking for."

He warned that if you wait too long, you'll have to settle for something that may not work as well.

When it comes to your home, Fusseneger recommends covering outdoor faucets and pipes with insulating material to keep them from freezing or bursting. When cold weather hits, the Louisville Water Company recommends running a small, steady stream of water from your cold water faucets, especially in areas where pipes are exposed or have frozen in the past.

If you need a space heater, he recommends a ceramic one with a thermostat. 

Space heaters can be a fire hazard, so Yuodis said to use them in a safe way. Keep them three feet away from everything else in your home, and don't put them near anything flammable. 

"We don't do ice well here because we don't do it often," he said. 

Yuodis also reminds people that while generators can be helpful if you lose power, they can also be dangerous. Never run them inside or in an enclosed space. 

Stores, tow lots and emergency personnel said they're all prepping for the week ahead. They recommend the public gets ready too. 

"Safeguard yourself the whole time throughout the winter weather changes," Hope said.

Contact reporter Grace McKenna at gmckenna@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


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