BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — With temperatures expected to plummet over the next few days, the time to prepare is now. The weather can pose several health risks and problems for your home.

Preparing yourself and your home for these frigid temperatures and wind chills can be difficult. The experts say it is important to get ready now before an emergency occurs.

“I think about the vulnerable populations because invariably they are the ones we see with the cold injuries,” Dr. Samuel Cloud, chief medical officer and emergency room physician at ECMC, told News 4.

Dr. Cloud says dangerous cold can cause severe cases of frostbite and hypothermia. Symptoms for these cold injuries include losing feeling in fingers and toes, and even disorientation.

“Often the patient will start to act like they are intoxicated and their cognition starts to slow. The danger in that is they stop being able to recognize how cold they are,” Dr. Cloud says.

While you prepare warm layers to head outside, you need to prepare your home heating system inside.

“The heating units in most people’s homes are going to be working overtime. There’s going to be a lot of stress and pressure put on those units in a cold spell more so than your typical winter day,” Jeffery Kelly, commercial HVAC sales manager at NOCO, says.

That stress and pressure can cause heating units to fail, leaving residents out in the cold. Kelly suggests changing your furnace filter and keeping the heat in your home on at a steady temperature with minimal fluctuations.

“Your furnace or your boiler will work a lot harder trying to catch up when the wind chill and temperatures are as cold as they are versus just staying at a 68-70 [degrees],” Kelly added.

Both Kelly and Dr. Cloud agree, call the experts if you need help.

“Crews will be out all weekend I’m sure helping people get through this particular cold snap,” Kelly said.

“We’re the City of Good Neighbors and a weekend like this helps us to earn that nickname,” Dr. Cloud concluded.

If you do lose heat in your home NOCO has technicians on call during the weekend for homeowners to contact. The technicians can also assist over the phone.

If you or a loved one suffer a cold weather injury, it is important to seek immediate medical care. There are warming shelters across Erie County. For more information, call 211.

Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.