The forecast is calling for frigid temperatures and to make sure you and your family are prepared, the Red Cross offers these safety tips.
Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog.
Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider your physical condition, the weather factors and the nature of the task.
Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.
Check on your animals. If possible, bring them indoors.
Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
Better safe than sorry. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
Frostbite and Hypothermia
Frostbite and hypothermia are cold-related emergencies that may quickly become life or limb threatening. Preventing cold-related emergencies includes not starting an activity in, on, or around cold water unless you know you can get help quickly in an emergency. Be aware of the wind chill. Dress appropriately and avoid staying in the cold too long. Wear a hat and gloves when appropriate with layers of clothing. Drink plenty of warm fluids or warm water but avoid caffeine and alcohol. Stay active to maintain body heat. Take frequent breaks from the cold. Avoid unnecessary exposure of any part of the body to the cold. Get out of the cold immediately if the signals of hypothermia or frostbite appear.
Frostbite is the freezing of a specific body part such as fingers, toes, the nose or earlobes.
Signals of frostbite include— lack of feeling in the affected area; skin that appears waxy, is cold to the touch, or is discolored (flushed, white or gray, yellow or blue).
Hypothermia is another cold-related emergencies. Hypothermia may quickly become life threatening. Hypothermia is caused by the cooling of the body caused by the failure of the body’s warming system. The goals of first aid are to restore normal body temperature and to care for any conditions while waiting for EMS personnel.
Signals of hypothermia include— shivering, numbness, glassy stare; apathy, weakness, impaired judgment; loss of consciousness.
The Red Cross wants the number of house fires not to rise as the temperatures drop, so it offers the following fire prevention tips:
All heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys inspected annually by a professional, and cleaned if necessary.
If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.