Please be prepared to follow these steps to deal with the challenges of winter weather:
General Winter Storms and Extreme Cold Tips:
Beware of Winter Dangers
In addition to snow and ice, winter weather can bring other dangers, including fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and frostbite. Here are some safety tips courtesy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross to protect your family from these hazards.
Each year, poorly maintained furnaces and the improper use of heating, cooking and lighting equipment causes thousands of fires in the U.S. To avoid risk of fire:
If you use an electric space heater, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not overload circuits, and be sure to keep the heater away from curtains, drapes and other flammable material.
Frostbite / Hypothermia
Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure that can cause permanent harm to people. A loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, nose, or earlobes are symptoms of frostbite. Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95°F. Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness, and exhaustion. Hypothermia is not always fatal, but for those who survive there are likely to be lasting kidney, liver and pancreas problems.
If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, begin warming the person slowly and seek immediate medical assistance. Warm the person’s trunk first. Using your own body heat will help. Arms and legs should be warmed last because stimulation of the limbs can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure. Put the person in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket. Never give a frostbite or hypothermia victim alcohol or something with caffeine in it, like coffee or tea. Caffeine, a stimulant, can cause the heart to beat faster and hasten the effect the cold has on the body. Alcohol, a depressant, can slow the heart and also hasten the ill effects of the cold.
Carbon monoxide, a product of combustion, is one of the most common causes of accidental poisoning in the U.S.
A gas that has no color, odor or taste, carbon monoxide bonds with hemoglobin in the blood, displacing oxygen. It is produced by common home appliances, such as gas or oil furnaces, clothes dryers, ranges, space heaters and wood stoves.
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning: