State Agencies Prepared, Offer Tips For Extreme Cold | Hypothermia | Weather

Susana Martinez Governor December 9, 2013

Press Release

State Agencies Prepared, Offer Tips For Extreme Cold
Santa Fe – Tonight is forecast to be extremely cold for many parts of the state. The National Weather Service predicting this will be the coldest night since February 2011, with temperatures expected to dip down to -10° F to -25° F range for much of the northern valley locations. “As New Mexico braces for extreme cold, state agencies and departments are ready with information and resources to help New Mexicans stay warm and safe,” said Governor Susana Martinez. “From helping motorists stay safe on icy roads to preventing illnesses and injuries like frostbite and hypothermia, I encourage all New Mexicans to prepare themselves and their families by taking advantage of the various resources and information available from our state agencies.” The New Mexico Department of Transportation wants to remind drivers that with temperatures this low, ice may be a problem on the roads. So please slow down and provide an extra car length between vehicles. “Our crews are on standby and will work around the clock to help keep roads safe,” said NMDOT Cabinet Secretary Tom Church. “With temperatures dipping well below freezing, New Mexicans should take precautions and prepare in the event of a long-term utility outage,” said Homeland Security and Emergency Management Secretary Greg Myers. “The State Emergency Operations Center is constantly monitoring weather conditions and is on standby to assist local communities with help if needed.” Residents should have an emergency preparedness kit ready year round, and especially during winter months. This kit should include extra blankets, clothing, an extra food supply and flashlights. A full list of items you should have in your emergency kit and tips on how to stay safe during cold conditions are available at www.ready.gov (or in Spanish www.listo.gov).

The New Mexico Department of Health reminds people to drink plenty of water during the cold weather to avoid dehydration. “The bitter cold temperatures forecasted for New Mexico can lead to health problems, especially for small children and the elderly,” said Department of Health of Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “People should try to minimize their time in the cold temperatures. For those who have to be outside, wear layered clothing and cover exposed skin to prevent frostbite.” Frostbite occurs when the skin becomes cold enough to actually freeze. A loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, or the nose are symptoms of frostbite. Hypothermia (low body temperature) can occur during longer periods of exposure when the body temperature drops below 95° F. A person will become disoriented, confused, and shiver uncontrollably, eventually leading to drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. In severe cases, death is possible. The Department of Health reports that in 2012, 20 New Mexicans died of hypothermia The Department also reminds people not to use their ovens or clothes dryers as heaters due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. ### Melissa Dosher, NMDOT Public Information Officer, 827-5526 (office), 469-5698 (cell) melissa.dosher@state.nm.us

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