Here's how to protect your pets, pipes and plants this winter

WILLIAMSON COUNTY - Cold weather is now anticipated to move into Central Texas this weekend around Christmas. But don't worry, Williamson County's Office of Emergency Management has your back! When it's chilly, don't forget to protect the 4 P's: people, pets, pipes, and plants! 

People:
This one's easy. Before going outside, always dress in layers to protect yourself from the cold. Never leave a young child or the elderly in a cold vehicle. While heating your home, do not use a generator, grill, camp-stove, or any gasoline, propane, or charcoal-burning device as they generate deadly carbon monoxide gas. 

Pets:
For animals, hypothermia and dehydration are the two most probably life-threatening conditions. Very young or older animals may have weaker immune systems and should be brought inside or protected from the cold weather with bedding, food, and water. 

Pipes:
Water inside unprotected water pipes freeze over when it's cold outside. Since water expands when it freezes, it can cause pipes to crack or split. And when the frozen water thaws, the water leak can cause serious damage to the home. 

Covering exposed pipes could protect them from freezing. You can find everything you'd need, plumbing insulation and faucet covers, at your local hardware and grocery stores. 

Plants:
How can you protect your plants from the frost? Before the temperature drops below 38 degrees, water your plants thoroughly to keep the moisture around the plants a little warmer. You can cover your plants before nightfall to trap the heat. Remember that potted plants are more susceptible to the frost and freezing, so wrap the pots in towels or burlap. 

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