Getting ready for a cold Central Florida Christmas, from pets to personal heaters

Public safety officials urge residents to practice their 5 Ps of cold weather preparedness

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A blast of cold air across the country means a Christmas Eve in the 30s is possible, according to News 6 meteorologists.

A strong Arctic cold front is expected to arrive last Thursday night and Friday morning, causing temperatures to drop throughout the day Friday.

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Central Florida officials are urging people to prepare by remembering their five Ps of cold weather preparedness.

“People, plants, pets — want to bring pets inside, pipes — cover the pipes, things like that in case it gets to freezing temperature, and then practice fire safety,” said Alan Harris, Seminole County director of public safety.

Saturday temperatures

“In Seminole County, if we hit 40 degrees for four or more hours we start to provide additional cots and additional supplies to our rescue outreach mission which handles all of our homeless population,” Harris said. “We’ll do an evacuation shelter, we’ll place that on standby in the event something happens around the community — people lose their heater units, the electricity goes down in a portion of the county. So we’ll have a shelter on standby Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights.”

Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside.

“We want to make sure that we protect all of our pets. Bring them in so that they can stay warm,” Harris said.

People may break out space heaters when the temperatures dip, and officials urge people to pay extra attention to space heaters, since home heating equipment is a leading cause of fire deaths and injuries.

“We need to have about 3 feet of space around this to make sure nothing burns or catches fire,” said Lt. Dave Williams of the Seminole County Fire Department. “If you have small pets or children coming through, keep it on an elevated surface where it’s not going to get knocked over.”

Williams said when purchasing a space heater, it’s important to check the bottom of the unit to make sure it has a UL sticker.

“Proper use actually begins with buying the proper piece of equipment. If you look at the bottom of a unit there’s actually a tag at the bottom that says that it’s UL listed. That’s one of the most important things, that means it’s been independently tested, and it’s certified for use,” Williams said.

Williams said the most common improper use of a space heater is when the device is plugged into an extension cord.

“You do not want to plug it into an extension cord,” he said. “You can actually draw too much amp voltage through that, create a lot of heat in that extension cord and that could create the fire as well.”


Since a frost or freeze is likely over Christmas, it’s a good idea to either bring in or cover plants that can’t survive in those temperatures. The University of Florida IFAS Extension offers tips for properly covering plants and why.

You may also want to cover any pipes to prevent them from freezing.

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About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.