READING, Pa. -

The cold has set in in Berks County and people are preparing for the extreme conditions by stocking up on pipe insulators and portable heaters.

"We had some additional spouts put on outdoors and I just do not want to take the chance of them bursting and flooding and making a mess in the basement," said Thelma Thorne of Temple.

"Especially with the temperatures dropping to what they are the next few days, we have had a lot of increased interest in them to supplement their current heat," said Lowe's Assistant Manager Sean Thompson.

But firefighters warn that many heat sources can be dangerous if not used properly. The first no-no that Reading firefighters frequently see is using your stove for heat.

"Obviously that is dangerous if you have kids around or if anything is in close proximity to that oven that can catch fire," said Reading Fire Lieutenant Jeremy Searfoss.

The next thing to be aware of when using various heat sources is carbon monoxide.

"It is colorless, odorless, tasteless. They will have no idea that the carbon monoxide is building up," said Searfoss.

He says it is best to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. FEMA also recommends that if you use a portable heater, keep it three feet away from anything flammable and turn it off when you leave your home. But most of all: have some sort of plan.

"It is important also to have a plan as to what you are going to do in case something happens at home to your electricity, to your furnace or something like that," said Governor Tom Corbett, (R) Pennsylvania.

Officials say to stay indoors if possible over the next day or two because frostbite can set in in a matter of minutes. If you must go outside, dress in warm layers and limit your time outdoors.