The best way to stay safe during extreme winter weather is to stay home. Minimize outdoor activities and drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, utilize MEMA’s winter driving safety tips.
Dress to Protect
Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing instead of a single heavy layer. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat, mittens (not gloves) and sturdy waterproof boots to protect your extremities. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
Act Fast if You See Signs of Frostbite or Hypothermia
Frostbite is when a part of your body freezes. Your nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes often are the first affected. People may experience pain, numbness, and a change of skin color.
Hypothermia can kill you. It occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat. This causes a dangerously low body temperature. Older adults, babies, children, and people with certain health conditions are more at risk. Shivering is one of the first signs of hypothermia; other signs include confusion, drowsiness, and slurred speech.
Call 911 or seek emergency medical care if you see signs of frostbite or hypothermia!
Heat Your Home Safely
Use care with space heaters and fireplaces. Keep anything that could catch fire at least 3 feet (1 meter) from the heat!
Use electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements, and avoid using extension cords to plug in space heaters.
Turning on the stove for heat is not safe and can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Light Your Home Safely
If there is a power failure, use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns, not candles, if possible. Candles can lead to house fires.
Use Generators, Grills and Appliances Safely
Generators should be located at least 20 feet from any window, door, or vent and in a space where rain and snow will not reach them.
Never using generators, gas or charcoal grills, camp stoves, or similar devices inside your home, in basements, in garages, or near windows. The fumes are deadly.
Avoid unnecessarily opening doors or windows, and close off unneeded rooms. Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors to prevent heat from escaping.