This time of year can present some very unique weather challenges to the residents and visitors to our City. In less than a week we can experience mild temperatures (70 degrees) or extreme cold temperatures (near or below freezing). The following tips are provided in an effort to assist our residents and visitors who may not be all that familiar with how to prepare themselves and their pets for colder temperatures. We can never be too careful, too prepared or too aware; so please share this information with family, friends and neighbors.
Conserve Heat: You may need fresh air coming in for your heater or for emergency cooking arrangements. However, if you don’t need extra ventilation, keep as much heat as possible inside your home. Avoid unnecessary opening of doors or windows. Close off unneeded rooms, stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors, and close draperies or cover windows with blankets at night.
- Use fireplaces, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside and that do not leak flue gas into the indoor air space.
- Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors—the fumes are deadly.
- Never leave lit candles unattended.
- Keep as much heat as possible inside your home.
- Eat well-balanced meals to help you stay warmer.
Avoid Exertion: Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold. Otherwise, if you have to do heavy outdoor chores, please dress warmly and work slowly. Remember, your body is already working hard just to stay warm, so don’t overdo it.
Be Prepared: When the weather is extremely cold, and especially if there are high winds, try to stay indoors. Make any trips outside as brief as possible, and remember these tips below to protect your health and safety.
Adults and children should wear:
- a hat
- a scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
- sleeves that are snug at the wrist
- mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
- water-resistant coat and boots
- several layers of loose-fitting clothing
Be sure the outer layer of your clothing is tightly woven, preferably wind resistant, to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind. Wool, silk, or polypropylene inner layers of clothing will hold more body heat than cotton. Stay dry, wet clothing chills the body rapidly. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm. Do not ignore shivering; it’s an important first sign that the body is losing heat.
Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.
Avoid Hypothermia: When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know it is happening and won’t be able to do anything about it. Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.
Tips for Animals: The following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips.
- Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
- Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his/her supply of food, particularly protein, to keep his/her fur, in tip-top shape.
- Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
- Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed.
Additional cold weather safety tips can be accessed at the following links;