Stay safe outside this winter and prepare for winter storms
How to Stay Warm and Safe During Cold Weather Activities
While the winter offers many fun outdoor activities, low temperatures come with a variety of safety risks. Use these tips to stay safe while spending time outside during the colder months.
Make sure you are wearing clothing that is right for cold temperatures and harsh conditions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that both children and adults outfit themselves in layered clothing, coats and boots that repel water, scarves or knit masks to protect the face, hats and mittens since they preserve heat better than gloves. The source recommends choosing clothing made from heavy materials such as wool or silk and trying to stay as dry as possible since wet clothes can cause your body heat to quickly drop.
Be careful of ice
Ice is a major concern when you’re playing outside this winter. Be careful of dangerous icicles that form on buildings – they can break off and cause serious damage. Make sure you are aware of ice on sidewalks, driveways and staircases to avoid any accidental falls that could lead to broken bones. The CDC suggests sprinkling sand and salt on these areas to prevent them from freezing over completely. If you plan to walk or skate on a frozen pond, make sure to take the proper precautions and carefully check the thickness of the ice before placing any weight on it, notes KidsHealth.org. Always wear a helmet when skating and be sure to supervise children.
Prevent hypothermia and frostbite
According to the CDC, hypothermia occurs when your body is exposed to cold temperatures for long spans of time and starts to lose heat rapidly. Very low body temperatures can negatively affect the brain, making this a serious health risk. Hypothermia often happens when people have not dressed appropriately or remained in cold, wet clothing for too long, so make sure that you are outfitted correctly and change clothes soon after getting wet. Frostbite happens when your body parts actually freeze and can result in permanent damage if not recognized and treated right away. The lower the wind chill, the less time it will take for frostbite to occur. Prevent these issues by listening to your body – when it gets too cold, head inside for warm blankets, space heaters and hot cocoa.
How to Prepare For Winter Storms
With winter fast approaching, making sure you are prepared to handle storms should be a top priority. Follow this checklist to ensure you are ready to take whatever mother nature sends your way.
Create an emergency kit
It is always a good idea to have an emergency stash of essential items, especially if you live in a region where inclement weather is typical. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends including at least a few gallons of water, a first aid kit, a whistle, a flashlight, a radio and canned food in your kit. To be even more prepared, FEMA suggests also putting away extra cash, sleeping bags, important documents and games to pass the time in case of power loss.
Prepare your vehicle
According to the Red Cross, you should try to keep your gas tank as full as possible during the colder months. This will prevent the fuel line from freezing. FEMA notes that you should check antifreeze levels, the heater and defroster, the thermostat and the windshield wipers to make sure they are all operating without any problems. Good winter tires are essential for driving during heavy storms and on icy roads, but use discretion and stay home if conditions look too dangerous.
Prepare your home
During the fall, have your home heating system inspected to make sure it is working properly. Additionally, it is a good idea to clean and prepare space heaters and chimneys. While you wait for the storm to hit, close all windows. The Red Cross suggests covering them with plastic to keep cold air out and prevent warm air from escaping. If you are going to be away when a bad storm is headed for your home, set the heat to at least 55 degrees and leave it running while you are gone, the source recommends.
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