Glen Cove EMS Offers Safety Tips For Cold Weather

Despite temperatures in the 50's today, arctic air will once again bring extreme cold temperatures to our area Monday through Wednesday. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued Wind Chill Advisories for Long Island from Monday night into Tuesday evening. Temperatures are expected to plummet in the single digits with the wind chill reaching -20 degrees in some areas. A Wind Advisory has also been issued for Long Island beginning Monday evening and lasting until Tuesday evening.

In order to ensure residents are prepared for these extreme cold temperatures and wind chills, the City of Glen Cove EMS have outlined the following safety tips for the public:

- Closely monitor local news reports for updates and changes to weather forecasts. Check out the official Glen Cove EMS Facebook Page for information on emergency incidents occurring throughout Glen Cove.  www.Facebook.com/GlenCoveEMS

- Make sure you have a well-stocked Winter Home Emergency Supply Kit that includes flashlights, portable radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food and a manual can opener.

-Minimize outside activities. The elderly and very young are most susceptible to extreme cold.

-Think about your pets. They are affected by the cold weather as much as you are. Limit their outside exposure to as little as possible.

-Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, rather than a single layer of heavy clothing.  Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.  Wear a hat, mittens and sturdy waterproof boots, protecting your extremities.  Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs. Try not to leave any part of your body directly exposed to the cold air. 

-Excessive cold exposure of uncovered areas can lead to frostbite, which is damage to body tissue that is frozen. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately. 

-Hypothermia is the most serious of cold-related illnesses caused by prolonged exposure to cold. When a person experiences hypothermia their body temperature is so low that it affects the brain, making the person unable to think clearly or move well. The warning signs for adults are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling of hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. Warning signs for children are bright, red colored skin and very low energy.

-Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel, as well as emergency heating equipment in case you lose electricity.

-When utilizing alternate heating sources, such as your fireplace, wood stove or space heater, take the necessary safety precautions.  Keep a fire extinguisher handy; ensuring everyone knows how to use it properly. Test smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors.

-If utilizing an emergency generator, read, understand and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Always operate emergency generators outdoors and away from any open window. 

-Never use propane or charcoal grills indoors as they pose Carbon Monoxide (CO) and fire risks.

-If you lose your heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets.

-Be a good neighbor. Check with the elderly or relatives and friends who may need additional assistance to ensure their safety.

-To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Allow a trickle of warm water to run from a faucet that is farthest from your water meter or one that has frozen in the past.  This will keep the water moving so that it cannot freeze.  Learn how to shut off your water if a pipe bursts.

-If pipes freeze, remove insulation, completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes or wrap them with towels soaked in hot water, starting where they are most exposed to the cold.  A hand-held hair dryer, used with caution, also works well. Best advice is to consult with a properly qualified plumber.

-Make sure your car is properly winterized.  Keep the gas tank at least half-full.  Carry a Winter Emergency Car Kit in the trunk including blankets, extra clothing, flashlight with spare batteries, non-perishable foods and an additional cell phone battery.

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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