Cold air is on the way to the Tennessee Valley. It has been some time since we have had temperatures this cold, so it is a good idea to review ways to stay safe during the cold.

When temperatures fall to or below freezing, plants, crops, pipes, people and pets are all at risk. Extra steps should be taken to protect all of these things before freezing conditions arrive.

Plants and sensitive vegetation should be brought indoors during cold periods. Pets should also be brought inside or provided with warm shelter. People should also bundle up when outside in cold conditions. The time spent outside during cold periods should be limited.

Pipes are another concern when temperatures drop below freezing. Cold air can cause exterior pipes to freeze and burst. Some simple steps to keep your pipes from freezing include covering exposed outdoor spigots, removing and draining outdoor hoses, letting the faucet slowly drip, and opening cabinets to let warm air circulate around pipes.

While heating your home, you should also take precautions. Space heaters are responsible for 1/3 of home heating fires and about 80 percent of home heating fire deaths. When using a space heater be sure to plug it directly into an outlet, keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from it, and turn it off when leaving the room or going to bed. If you have a working fireplace with a chimney, you should have it inspected and cleaned regularly. Be sure to also test your smoke alarms once a month.

Stay warm and stay up to date with the latest forecast from the Weather Authority.