With Lake Effect Snow Warnings and Advisories in effect across much of Western and Central New York, and frigid temperatures with highs near zero degrees Fahrenheit expected over the next several days, the American Red Cross is offering tips to help people stay safe during this hazardous weather.
“Extreme cold can be dangerous but there steps you can take to prevent injuries and emergencies,” said Rosie Taravella, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Western & Central New York Region. “We urge everyone to follow these steps so they can have a safe and enjoyable Valentine’s Day weekend.”
COLD WEATHER SAFETY TIPS Here are ten ways to stay safe during this latest round of cold temperatures:
· Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will prevent losing body heat.
· Know the signs of hypothermia - confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. If someone has these symptoms, they should get immediate medical attention.
· Watch for symptoms of frostbite including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy feeling skin.
· Bring the pets indoors. If that’s not possible, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
· Avoid frozen pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.
· Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home.
· Space heaters should sit on a level, hard surface and anything flammable should be kept at least three feet away.
· If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
· Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
· Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain, snow or dense fog. If travel is necessary, make sure you have a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle which includes: shovel, blanket, flashlight, water, snacks, first aid kit, and extra batteries. Keep the gas tank full--a full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
Learn how to treat cold weather related emergencies by downloading the free Red Cross First Aid App at redcross.org/apps. More information about winter safety is available at www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm.