Cold Weather Safety Tips


A woman rides her bike downtown during a snow storm in Sioux Falls, S.D., Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. A strong winter storm system is forecast to sweep across the Midwest into New England, bringing double-digit snow accumulations and high winds. (Loren Townsley/The Argus Leader via AP)

Arctic air will be moving into the region for the middle and later part of this week. We will have high temperatures that will be in the single digits and in the teens. On top of the frigid cold air it will be quite windy, which can drop wind chill values down to well below zero. Since we will be dealing with frigid temperatures and strong wind, here are some tips to help keep you safe.

When you are outside in the cold you need to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia. To prevent this you will want to do the following:

  1. You will want to wear layers of lightweight, loose-fitting, warm clothes.
  2. You will also want to wear a hat and try to stay dry and out of the wind.
  3. You will want to wear a scarf to cover your mouth to protect your lungs from the extreme cold.
  4. You will want wear mittens that are snug at the wrist and are better than gloves.
  5. You want to make sure that you cover as much exposed skin as possible.

If you do have to go outside, you will want to adjust your schedule to avoid being outside at the coldest part of the day. If you have kids, you want to find a warm spot at the bus stop.

While you are outside you will want to watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Signs of Frostbite include:

  • A loss of feeling and color in the affected areas.
  • Skin being a white or grayish-yellow
  • Skin feels unusually waxy or firm

If you have frostbite and can’t get medical car right away, you will want to do the following:

  1. Get to a warm room
  2. Don’t walk on frostbitten feet or toes, unless absolutely necessary, as it can increase the damage done.
  3. You will want to put the affected area in warm, not hot, water.
  4. Warm the affected areas using body heat. For example you can use your armpit to warm your fingers.
  5. Avoid rubbing the frostbitten area with snow or even massaging it.
  6. Because the areas affected are numb, you want to avoid a heating pad, a heat lamp, or heat off of a lamp, stove, radiator, or fireplace as they can easily be burned.

Signs of Hypothermia is a more serious medical condition that is caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. When exposed to cold temperatures for a long time your body loses heat faster than it can be produced, which can lead to a lower body temperature. If it drops to low, it can impact the brain making the victim unable to think or move well. This makes it hard for the victim to do anything about their condition. Signs of hypothermia in adults are:

  • Shivering
  • Exhaustion
  • Confusion
  • Fumbling hands
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Memory loss

Signs of hypothermia in infants are:

  • Bright red
  • Cold skin
  • Very low energy

You will want to get a victim of hypothermia immediate medical attention. If that is not available, you will want to do:

  1. Get the person into a warm room or shelter
  2. If they have wet clothing, you will want to remove it
  3. Get the center of the body warm first using an electrical blanket if available
  4. You can give them warm non-alcoholic beverages. Don’t give them to an unconscious person.
  5. After they are warmed you will want to keep them dry and wrapped in a blanket.
  6. Then get medical attention as soon as possible.

During the extreme cold you will also want to bring any outdoor pets or farm animals inside. You will want to make sure that they have plenty of food and water, that isn’t frozen. You will want to make sure they are also outside for a limited time.

Your car should have at least half a tank of gas during the cold weather this way if you get stuck somewhere you can stay warm.

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