Winneshiek County Public Health reminds the public of the need to protect not only themselves in this extreme cold, but property and animals.

In a press release prepared by WCPH, the organization offers a number of hints to deal with the "life-threatening cold" this week:

Frostbite to bare skin will occur in less than five minutes.

• Be sure to spend minimal amount of time outdoors and cover all skin area if possible;

• Pets and livestock can suffer frostbite as well, check on them and if able have them indoors away from the cold winds and temperatures;

• Be aware that hypothermia (cold body temperature) may occur as well.

Avoid unnecessary travel if possible.

• If travel is necessary, be sure vehicle prepared with gas tanks filled;

• Extra clothing and blankets in case of breakdown;

• Fully charged cellphone-keep it close to you to keep warm and functioning;

• Let someone know your route, when you are leaving and estimated time of arrival.

In your home, stay safe and warm.

• Be sure that furnaces and space heaters are properly functioning;

• Be safe in use of space heaters; do not use heat from ovens or stove tops;

• Do not use fuel-fired space heaters indoors.

Check on your neighbors, particularly the elderly or ill persons. Be sure they are safe and warm.

If a person would fall outdoors without any way to call for help, they could be in extreme danger quickly. Be sensible and stay safe.

If an emergency needs, call 911 for assistance.