Bitter cold temperatures are in the forecast this week. Use these winter tips to be prepared and to keep yourself and your family safe and warm.

Space heater safety: Only use newer models with safety features like automatic shut-off. Keep it at least 6 feet away from flammable materials like drapes or blankets. Plug heaters directly into the wall, not into extension cords or power strips. Place the heater on a flat surface away from children and pets.

Safe sleeping: Turn off electric blankets when they are not being used. Keep pets away from electric blankets, their teeth and claws can puncture wire insulation and cause damage.

Prevent carbon monoxide dangers: Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and learn the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Oven safety: Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. Not only is it inefficient, it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Let the sun in: Open curtains or blinds when the sun is out to help warm your home. Close them at night to help retain heat and cut down on drafts.

Bundle up: Add a layer instead of turning up the thermostat. A sweater or blanket will help keep you warm without adding to your energy use.

Energy assistance: Minnesota Energy Resources offers numerous resources for customers — including budget billing, payment plans and heating assistance.