With below zero temperatures today and a cold forecast for the remainder of the week, it is important to remember to protect your health and safety. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an Extreme Cold Prevention Guide with many of those important reminders. Here are a few extreme cold survival tips to keep in mind:
1. Prepare your car.
- Keep the gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines – and so you don’t get stranded!
- Ensure your antifreeze and windshield-wiper fluid levels aren’t low.
- Check your tires – replace worn ones and keep air pressure at appropriate level.
- Equip your car with a winter survival kit: blankets, first aid kit, windshield scraper, booster cables, tool kit, tow rope, collapsible shovel, a can and waterproof matches to melt snow for water if you are stranded, container of water and small supply of food, flashlight and extra batteries, canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair, bag of sand or cat litter to pour on ice or snow for added traction.
2. Prepare your home.
- Properly (and safely) heat your home.
- Conserve heat: avoid unnecessary opening of doors or windows, close off unneeded rooms, stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
- Light your home and cook safely if there is a power failure: use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns rather than candles, never leave lit candles unattended, never use charcoal or gas grills indoors.
- Stock up on food and water supply.
3. Prepare yourself and your loved ones.
- Monitor body temperature: dress warmly and generate body heat when needed.
- Infants: Infants lose heat more easily than adults and they cannot make enough body heat by shivering alone. Make sure infants do not sleep in a cold room, keep them dressed warmly and maintain a warm indoor air temperature.
- Older adults: Older adults often make less body heat because of a slower metabolism and less physical activity. Check on elderly friends and neighbors to ensure that their homes are heated adequately.
- Eat and drink wisely: Well-balanced meals help you stay warmer. Drink warm beverages or broth to help maintain your body temperature.
- Dress warmly and stay dry! Outdoor gear recommendations:
- Scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
- Sleeves that are snug at the wrist
- Water-resistant coat and boots
- Several layers of loose-fitting clothing
To read the complete Extreme Cold Prevention Guide, visit: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/pdf/extreme-cold-guide.pdf. This will provide you with additional extreme cold health and safety suggestions and also describe warning signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
Knowing what to do in extreme cold is essential to protect your health and the health of others. Stay warm, Greenfield!