Frostbite and Hypothermia
IF INDOORSStay indoors and dress warmly.Conserve fuel.
Lower the thermostat to 65 degreesduring the day and 55 degrees atnight. Close off unused rooms.
If the pipes freeze, remove anyinsulation or layers of newspa-pers and wrap pipes in rags.
Completely open all faucets andpour hot water over the pipes,starting where they were mostexposed to the cold (or where thecold was most likely to penetrate).
Listen to the radio or television toget the latest storm information.IF OUTDOORSDress warmly.
Wear loose-fitting, layered, light-weight clothing. Layers can beremoved to prevent perspirationand chill. Outer garments shouldbe tightly woven and water repel-lent. Mittens are warmer thangloves because fingers generatewarmth when they touch each other.
Stretch before you go out.
If you go out to shovel snow, do afew stretching exercises to warm upyour body. Also, take frequentbreaks.
Cover your mouth.
Protect your lungs from extremelycold air by covering your mouthwhen outdoors. Try not to speak unless absolutely necessary.
Cold weather puts an added strainon the heart. Unaccustomedexercise such as shoveling snow orpushing a car can bring on a heartattack or make other medicalconditions worse. Be aware of symptoms of dehydration.
Watch for signs of frostbite andhypothermia.Keep dry.
Change wet clothing frequently toprevent a loss of body heat. Wetclothing loses all of its insulatingvalue and transmits heat rapidly.
Remember to help your neighborswho may require special assis-tance — infants, elderly people,and people with disabilities.
Frostbite is a severe reaction to coldexposure that can permanently damage itsvictims. A loss of feeling and a white orpale appearance in fingers, toes, or noseand ear lobes are symptoms of frostbite.Hypothermia is a condition brought onwhen the body temperature drops to lessthan 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptomsof hypothermia include uncontrollableshivering, slow speech, memory lapses,frequent stumbling, drowsiness, andexhaustion.If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected,begin warming the person slowly and seekimmediate medical assistance. Warm theperson’s trunk first. Use your own bodyheat to help. Arms and legs should bewarmed last because stimulation of thelimbs can drive cold blood toward theheart and lead to heart failure. Put personin dry clothing and wrap their entire bodyin a blanket.Never give a frostbite or hypothermiavictim something with caffeine in it (likecoffee or tea) or alcohol. Caffeine, astimulant, can cause the heart to beatfaster and hasten the effects the cold hason the body. Alcohol, a depressant, canslow the heart and also hasten the illeffects of cold body temperatures.A
winter storm watch
indicates thatsevere winter weather may affect yourarea. A
winter storm warning
indicatesthat severe winter weather conditions aredefinitely on the way.A
means that largeamounts of falling or blowing snow andsustained winds of at least 35 miles perhour are expected for several hours.
Winter Storm Watchesand Warnings
Mitigation includes any activities thatprevent an emergency, reduce the chanceof an emergency happening, or lessen thedamaging effects of unavoidableemergencies. Investing in preventivemitigation steps now such as purchasing aflood insurance policy and installing stormwindows will help reduce the impact ofwinter storms in the future. For moreinformation on mitigation, contact yourlocal emergency management office.“Wind chill” is a calculation of how coldit feels outside when the effects oftemperature and wind speed arecombined. A strong wind combined with atemperature of just below freezing canhave the same effect as a still airtemperature about 35 degrees colder.