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Local officials hope you're ready for a wintry blast

With the coldest temperatures of the season on the way to Shelby County this weekend, local officials are asking residents to be prepared and use caution. 


An arctic blast is expected to drive temperatures near zero and wind chill readings will make it feel much colder across the county. 


Shelbyville Police Lt. Mike Turner said the department is asking residents to utilize a form of safe heating. 


"If the furnace is not working or you have to use portable heaters, please make sure they are not near any items that may catch fire. Also, make sure small children stay away from the floor heaters to keep from being harmed," Turner said. 


Shelby County Emergency Management Director Ryan Hansome echoed those sentiments.


Hansome asked residents to prepare their homes with insulation, caulking and weather stripping, as well as ensuring pipes do not freeze and smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are ready with battery backups. 


"Use extreme caution if using space heaters, and follow the manufacture's recommendations," Hansome said. 


The precautions extend outside the home, as Turner is asking residents who are traveling to ensure they have a full gas tank and a charged cell phone, as well as blankets. 


Hansome said it is vital to have an emergency supply kit for the car, which would include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, phone charger, blankets and snacks. 


In addition, Turner is asking residents to keep tabs on pets.


"Please make sure you keep your pets inside either your home or garage, if possible. If your pet had to remain outside, please provide a warm place for them to stay and make sure they have food and the water is not frozen," Turner said.


Officials are also asking residents to keep tabs on family and neighbors.


"Please check on your family as well. If you have elderly parents or grandparents, please make sure they are staying safe and warm. These temps will not last long, so please stay safe during the cold weather," Turner said. 


Hansome said the Salvation Army will open Saturday through Feb. 16 as a warming center, and the facility is in need of volunteers to help staff the center.