Tips for staying safe in the cold

With extreme cold expected this week, I wanted to share some tips from the Health Department so you can stay safe when the temperatures drop.

The Department recommends staying indoors as much as possible. Anyone who must go outside should limit time out, dress in warm layers and cover exposed skin.

Hypothermia and frostbite are two dangerous, potentially fatal, conditions that can occur during extreme cold weather. Signs of hypothermia, an unusual drop in body temperature, include shivering, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color, most often in the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes, and can permanently damage your body or lead to amputation.

When residents must clear walkways and driveways, follow these tips to make removing snow safer:

  • Shovel in shifts instead of all at once;
  • Take breaks and drink water to prevent dehydration;
  • Push snow instead of lifting it – if you must lift, bend your legs and not your back;
  • Avoid twisting motions that can stress your back; and
  • If using a snow blower, follow all safety instruction and stay aware of other who may be nearby.

Should someone experience a loss of power, residents should take steps to prevent a possible carbon monoxide buildup, which could lead to illness or death. Never use a gas range or oven to heat a residence. Never run a generator outside an open window, door or vent where exhaust can enter into an enclosed area, and never run a generator inside, even if the windows are open.

Additional information on how to stay safe during and after a snow storm can be found on the Department of Health’s website at www.health.pa.gov

You can also find helpful information in the Pennsylvania Emergency Preparedness Guide.

Local information: Sign up for local weather alerts and advisories at www.readychesco.org.