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Milwaukee Fire Department Battalion Chief on extreme cold: 'If you don't need to leave your house, do not leave your house'

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The extremely cold temperatures can be tough on our vehicles. 

At Riverside Automotive, mechanics have already been seeing lots of dead batteries and flat tires. 

They expect to see even more in the coming days. 

One automotive technician there recommends people charge their batteries on a trickle charger overnight if they can. 

"If you can start your car, keep it running as long as you possibly can. Ideally, too, you get heat coming out of the vents, when it’s extremely cold your car uses a lot more fuel to start the car, so inside your motor it’s running fairly dirty, if you don’t let the car warm it can sometimes lead to the car being flooded," said Christian Bilgo. 

When it comes to your tires, Bilgo recommends getting an air gauge to check how much air is in them. 

The message from a Milwaukee Fire Department Battalion Chief about the cold is: if you don't need to leave your house, do not leave your house. 

Battalion Chief Dewayne Smoots says instead to prepare your house. 

Make sure your furnace is working properly, don't use a stove to heat your home, and be careful with space heaters. 

"Space heaters now are a lot better than they used to be, but even with that said, you shouldn’t have anything within 30 inches of your space heater, and you should make sure you have one it’s URL rated, so if it tip over, it turns off," said Smoots. 

If you do have to go outside, AAA recommends packing a winter survival kit in your car with the following items: 

  • Ice scraper and brush
  • Coffee can furnace 
  • Boots, gloves, hat 
  • Tools and Flashlight
  • Tire traction material such as sand or cat litter
  • Food & Blanket
  • Jumper Cables 
  • First Aid Kit 
  • Cell Phone 
  • Flares or Reflective Triangle 
  • Shovel 


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