Advice for weathering extreme cold

coldOfficials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) want people to be safe when temperatures dip into single digits or colder.

“Subfreezing temperatures can be dangerous and even life-threatening for people who don’t take the proper precautions,” said Andrew Velasquez III, FEMA regional administrator. “It is important for everyone to monitor their local weather reports and take steps now to stay safe during times of extreme cold temperatures.”

FEMA urges people to take the following precautions during extremely cold weather:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Bring pets indoors, or at least make sure they have a warm shelter and unfrozen water.
  • Check in regularly with any family, friends and neighbors who you think might need additional help.
  • Drive only when necessary. Also, make sure you have an ice scraper, a blanket and a flashlight in your car before setting out
  • When going outdoors, dress in layers and keep dry. Remove clothing that gets wet. (Wet clothes lose their ability to trap body heat.)
  • Watch for signs of frostbite. It often starts on fingers, toes, earlobes or the tip of the nose. Red flags include a loss of feeling and white or pale skin color. Frostbite is a medical emergency, so seek treatment right away.
  • Be aware of the signs of hypothermia, which include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation and drowsiness. If you suspect hypothermia, get to a warm location. Seek medical help as soon as possible.
  • If you plan on leaving the house for a while, set your home’s thermostat to at least 55 degrees to ensure that pipes won’t freeze.

For more tips on what to do before, during and after cold spells, visit www.ready.gov/winter.

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