PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – With this polar vortex taking grab of the Pittsburgh area, the KDKA Morning News wanted a more detailed understanding of what we are really going through. Today, the temperature has reached minus-8, a record low, and continues to drop.

Many times throughout the winter we forget about those less fortunate who have to battle these conditions on the streets. And even further from our thoughts are the animals, wild and domestic, that are suffering.

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Veterinarian from Animal General, Dr. Mike Hutchinson, joined Larry Richert to talk about how serious it is to take care of your nearby animals. He feels that any animal should be brought inside, even if it’s in a garage.

Dr. Mike also reminds owners that if your pets must be outside you should purchase a dog-house that’s smaller rather than bigger. The tighter space will heat up faster with the dog and other things inside like blankets and straw.

“A lot of people don’t understand that just because they have fur doesn’t mean they can’t get frostbite or hypothermia like we can,” said Dr. Mike. “Especially outdoor pets, they aren’t brushed or groomed properly and some of the longer haired pets will get mats in their fur and that takes away their insulation capabilities.”

The Managing Director of Automotive Services for AAA, Steve Popovich, gave some helpful tips that could help your car this winter season. There are a lot of precautions that people should take to ensure the safety of themselves and their cars.

“On days like today, you have to be very careful with people stranded out in the elements,” said Popovich. “We are asking folks to be patient with us if they are at their home. We’ll get to you eventually, but we are certainly concentrating on the road emergencies first.”

Popovich recommends everyone keep an emergency blanket and jacket in their car just in case.

For assistance you can contact AAA by calling 1-800-AAA-HELP, the AAA Mobile application or www.aaa.com.

Chief Alvin Henderson of the Department of Emergency Services for Allegheny County has some good suggestions to keep you warm during this cool blast. He says the key to using the warming centers is accepting that you need the help and seeking out those to assist you.

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“I think people are heeding the warning that we’ve been sending out,” said Henderson. “Right now, knock on wood, we’re weathering the storm quite well.”

The public safety employees will suffer the most during these cold temperatures. They need to limit their exposure to the outdoors, dress in layers and cover up any exposed skin.

“You need to think about your food and water needs for possibly 72 hours of staying indoors,” said Henderson. “You need to take seriously an emergency kit and staying in contact with your family and friends to you can make sure everyone is doing okay.”

Dr. Karen Hacker is the Director of the Allegheny Health Department stresses the importance of dressing in layers, especially for those who like to run outside. She also recommends to stay away from alcohol and caffeine because it won’t help your situation.

“Make sure you’re covering your face, your fingers, your toes and your head,” said Dr. Hacker. “I myself never like to have hat head, but on days like today, it’s all about staying warm.”

She’s on the hopeful side that this cold weather will be short-lived.

Finally, Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett joined the discussion to talk about how the state has been handling this change in weather. He’s very impressed with how behaved the people have been by staying indoors and driving safely.

“I think Pennsylvanians are doing a great job,” said Gov. Corbett. “The warming centers weren’t as crowded as we expected them to be so that’s a good sign that everyone is taking care of each other.”

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He adds a tip not to run any large electronics like a dishwasher that don’t need to be used. Gov. Corbett explains that conserving energy is the best thing to do today, so Larry’s decided he won’t be doing anything at all.