How to stay safe in the brutal cold
By: Howard Stikes —
More single-digit temperatures, snow and ice are predicted for this week in many parts of the country, including Louisville.
While going through this season, being safe is the ultimate goal. Hypothermia and frostbite can happen in a matter of minutes if you don’t recognize and protect yourselves, loved ones and neighbors against these hazards of arctic-like temperatures.
No one can stop the onset of winter, however, the Center for Disease Control lists several ways to prepare to stay safe, warm and healthy during cold temperatures.
- Be prepared to check on family and neighbors that are especially at risk from cold weather hazards. Young children, older adults and the chronically ill. Pets are at risk if not brought inside. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.
- When spending time outdoors if you’re working, travelling or enjoying winter sports, make sure you limit your exposure to safety hazards.
- Wear proper outdoor clothing: layers of light warm clothing like mittens, hats, scarves and waterproof boots. Use cat litter or sand on patches of ice. Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors. Be aware of the wind chill factor. Work slowly when doing outside chores. Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation and carry a cell phone.
- Get your car ready for cold weather before winter arrives. Service the radiator and check the antifreeze levels. Check your tires for tread and if necessary replace them with snow or all-weather tires. Keep your gas tank full to prevent ice in the tank and fuel lines. Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer. Prepare a winter emergency kit that you keep in your car in case you become stranded. Your kit should include blankets, booster cables, flares, a tire pump, food and water. You may need a compass and maps along with a flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries. Plastic bags for sanitation, a first-aid kit, sand or cat litter for traction.
- Winterize your homes and be prepared for weather-related emergencies including power outages. Stock foods that need no cooking or refrigeration along with water stored in clean containers. Keep battery-operated devices like flashlights, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radios and lamps. Have on hand extra batteries, baby items, up-to-date emergency kits and extra medicine.
Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous and even fatal. Planning ahead can help you stay safe and healthy.
For additional tips regarding safety during cold weather, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at Cdc.gov/Features/WinterWeather/index.html
Photo by Sasha Perez/Louisville Cardinal