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Ten Tips to Combat Extreme Cold

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“We urge upstate New Yorkers to follow these tips to stay safe and warm"

With frigid temperatures expected across upstate New York for the next several days, the American Red Cross is offering tips to help people to stay safe during periods of extreme cold.

“Below-zero temperatures and bitterly cold wind chills pose definite dangers, but there are ways to combat the risks of cold weather,” said Burgundy Magoon, Preparedness Specialist for the American Red Cross Eastern New York Region. “We urge upstate New Yorkers to follow these tips to stay safe and warm over this chilly holiday weekend.”

Here are ten ways to stay safe through the latest round of cold weather:

  1. Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
  2. Know the signs of hypothermia - confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. If someone has these symptoms, they should get immediate medical attention.
  3. Watch for symptoms of frostbite including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy feeling skin. 
  4. Bring the pets indoors. If that isn’t possible, make sure they have enough shelter to keep warm and they can get to unfrozen water.
  5. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night, and run water, even at a trickle, to prevent pipes from freezing.
  6. Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home.
  7. Place space heaters on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away. 
  8. With any fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  9. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  10. Learn how to treat cold weather related emergencies by downloading the free Red Cross First Aid App

Find more winter safety information at

The Red Cross also encourages residents of New York State to participate in Citizen Preparedness Corps training to learn more about preparing for emergencies. In partnership with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the Red Cross is offering frequent Citizen Preparedness Corps training presentations across the Eastern New York Region. To find or schedule a free, in-person training near you, send an email to or call your local Red Cross office. Citizen Preparedness Corps training is also available online; when asked "Where did you learn about the Online Citizen Preparedness Training?" be sure to select "Referral from the American Red Cross."