Extreme Cold Safety
- Wear loose, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers. Trapped air between the layers acts as an insulator. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded.
- Always wear a hat or cap on your head since half of your body heat could be lost through an uncovered head.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
- Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch each other.
Winter storm conditions and cold waves are the deadliest types of weather as cold temperatures put an extra strain on your heart. Heavy exertion, such as shoveling snow, clearing debris or pushing a car can increase the risk of a heart attack. To avoid problems, remember these tips:
- Stay warm, dress warm and SLOW DOWN when working outdoors.
- Take frequent rests to avoid over exertion.
- If you feel chest pain — STOP and seek help immediately.
Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause hypothermia, especially in children and the elderly.
Watch for these symptoms:
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor coordination
- Slurred speech
- Uncontrollable shivering followed by sudden lack of shivering
If a person’s body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, seek emergency medical assistance immediately. Remove wet clothing, wrap victim in warm blankets, and give warm, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated liquids until help arrives.
People working or playing outdoors during the winter can develop frostbite and not even know it. There is no pain associated with the early stages of frostbite, so learn to watch for these danger signs:
- Skin may feel numb and become flushed, then turns white or grayish-yellow; frostbitten skin feels cold to the touch.
- If frostbite is suspected, move the victim to a warm area and cover the affected area with something warm and dry. Never rub it!
- Get to a doctor or hospital as quickly as possible.
For more cold weather safety tips, please visit the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/winter.