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Protect Yourself From The Extreme Cold

Protect Yourself From The Extreme Cold

The extreme cold is expected to stick around another couple days, and with wind chill temperatures well below zero, frosbite and hypothermia are very serious threats. If you must go outside make sure you are prepared and limit your time outside much as possible. It is best to stay indoors, along with your pets. Check on family, friends, and neighbors who are at risk and may need assistance. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold. For information on local warming centers, call 211.

Follow the tips below to protect yourself from the cold and visit ready.gov more extreme cold safety information.

Take Protective Measures for Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

Dress for The Cold:


If you must be outside, wear layers of loose-fitting and lightweight clothing. Air trapped between the layers will insulate you.

  • Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent, and hooded.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Mittens are better than gloves.
  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
  • Try to stay dry and out of the wind.
  • If doing strenuous outdoor activities, avoid wearing cotton.  Cotton dries slowly, drawing heat away from your skin. Wear synthetic fabrics that dry quickly and wick moisture from your skin.

Know the Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia:

Frostbite is damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. A wind chill of -20° Fahrenheit (F) will cause frostbite in just 30 minutes.

  • Signs: Numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, and firm or waxy skin around the face, fingers, and toes.
  • Actions: Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water. Use body heat to warm. Do not massage or use a heating pad.

Hypothermia happens when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees. Hypothermia is a medical emergency.

  • Signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness.
  • Actions: Go to a warm space and seek medical care. If medical care is not immediately available, warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin. Keep dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the head and neck.

Stay Safe When A Winter Storm Threatens

  • Avoid traveling by car, but if you must, make sure you have an emergency supply kit in the trunk of your car. Keep the gas tank full.
  • To prevent fires while using a space heater, make sure it is on a hard, level surface and plugged directly into wall outlets.
  • Never use an open flame to thaw frozen pipes.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven. Ensure that external heating and appliance exhaust vents are free from obstruction and snow drifts.
  • Reduce the risk of a heart attack. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
  • Use caution when walking on snowy or icy surfaces. Spread kitty litter or sand on walking surfaces to prevent falls.
  • Download the free FEMA app to receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations of your choice. Sign up for your community’s warning system.
  • Cold weather can also be dangerous for your pets and livestock. Bring them inside, or make sure they have access to the following:
    • Plenty of dry bedding to insulate vulnerable body parts from the frozen ground and frigid winds.
    • Windbreaks to keep animals safe from frigid conditions.
    • Plenty of food and water.
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