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Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

Dear Neighbors,

With the weather expected to stay in this “Deep Freeze” for a few more days, here are some helpful tips from the Red Cross, the National Fire Protection Agency, and the National Weather Service to stay safe and warm during the extended cold period.

You and Your Family

The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the "Deceptive Killers" because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. It is important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.

• Stay safe and dry indoors if possible.
• If you have to be outside, cover your mouth, keep dry, and avoid overexertion.
• Dress in layers for the weather; keep as much of your skin covered as possible with gloves, scarves, and hats.
• Watch for signs of frostbite, including loss of feeling and white or pale extremities. If you detect any symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
• Watch for signs of hypothermia, including uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. Get the victim to a warm location; remove any wet clothing; put the person in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket; warm the center of the body first and seek medical attention.
• Don’t forget about your pets! If they are let out, be sure to let them back in quickly. 
• Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather.
• If you have animals that are normally kept outside, make sure they have a sheltered area to stay in that is elevated from the ground, and that their food and water supply remains constant and unfrozen.

Your Home

According to the NFPA, heating equipment is involved in 1 of 7 reported home fires, and 1 in 6 home fire deaths. 

• Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment like a furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• Always turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
• Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector, and never use generators, grills, camp stoves indoors.
• Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
• When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
• Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.

By following these suggestions, you’ll be much better prepared to brave this cold weather.

Stay Safe and Warm!
Dan McConnell
Chief of the Halesite Fire Department 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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