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Precautions for the Cold Snap
Most people have never experienced the kind of temperatures that we might be facing in the next few days. These are potentially life-threatening low temperatures, and they are serious enough to prompt the following cautions from the U.S. government and other sources:
- Make sure your car has a full gas tank. But don’t drive if you don’t have to.
- Do not go outside unless it is absolutely necessary.
- If you must go outside, limit your time. Dress in warm layers, including a hat and gloves or mittens. Cover your mouth and nose to protect your lungs from the cold.
- Be aware of frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite occurs when the skin and the tissue under it become frozen. In temperatures such as these, exposed skin can begin to suffer frostbite in as little as five or 10 minutes. In the early stages, called frost nip, skin becomes red and sore. With frostbite, skin becomes yellow or white and might tingle. In the late stages, skin can become black or dark blue. If you have frostbite, get to a warm place and treat your skin with warm – not hot – water. If you cannot get feeling back or if skin blisters form, seek medical attention.
- Hypothermia is a cooling of the body’s core temperature. You might start to shiver uncontrollably. Get inside and warm up with blankets, paying special attention to your core. If you cannot get warm, seek medical attention, because if your body loses too much heat, it could be fatal.
- To keep your pipes from freezing, let the faucets drip a little so that water continues to run through the pipe. Open cabinet doors around pipes to let heat in. If your pipes freeze, call a plumber; do not try to defrost them yourself.
- Prepare for loss of power. Get blankets, flashlights, food and water. Make sure your phone is always fully charged. If you lose power, be careful using generators, candles, fireplaces or space heaters.
- Check on people you know who might be sick, elderly or otherwise need help.
- If you don't feel that you are safe in your home, drive to somewhere you will be safe, such as a friend or family member's house, a hotel, etc.