‘What Not to Do’ to Survive Arctic Snap

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- You’ve probably heard what you are “supposed” to do to survive the current arctic cold snap, but here are some tips of what “not” to do.

Number 10: Don’t lick or stick any exposed skin on frigid cold metal.

The act of freezing ones’ body parts to a flagpole makes for a good movie, but in real life can be very dangerous.

Still doctors said each year people come into the emergency room with injuries from freezing their tongues and other appendages.

Number 9: From stuck to dumb luck: doctors say the next mistake people make during a snow and ice storm is wearing the wrong footwear and then slipping and falling on the concrete.

“I mean they can slip and fall and hit their head and not do so well,” said Dr. Craig Bates, MetroHealth Medical Center emergency room physician.

Number 8: Bates said the next big mistake people make is overexerting themselves while shoveling, which can cause a heart attack. They also are prone to mangling their hands in snow blowers.

“Cleaning your snow blower with your hand is always a classic,” said Bates. “Even if the machine is off, the transmission is under tension, so you free something, and the blades can spin.”

Number 7: This can cause more harm to your vehicle than body, but is equally ignorant to try. Don’t use hot water to clear snow and ice off of a windshield, because the glass can shatter.

”Oh yeah, that’s a dumb one,” said Justin Walsh. “I’ve seen people do that before.”

Number 6: Gas up your car, but don’t leave it running or get in and out while fueling, which is hazardous. There are hundreds of cases where static electricity caused gas vapors to erupt in flames.

Number 5: Don’t use the oven or open flames to heat your home, and never leave space heaters unattended especially near flammable materials.

Number 4: Don’t go outside with exposed skin.

In just 30 minutes, a healthy person can suffer frostbite, and it sets in much faster in the sick and elderly.

“I’ve had patients so bad they have had amputations," said Bates.

Number 3: Avoid hypothermia.

"Don’t wear denim or cotton, which hold moisture and actually take heat away from the body but do dress in layers," said Bates.

Number 2: Don't let children play outside unsupervised. Sledding accidents are bad, but snow forts and snow tunnels collapsing on them can be deadly.

“You really have to be careful,” said Bates.

Number 1: Finally, while you are watching after the children, also check on the elderly and weakest among us. Don’t leave pets outside in the elements. Even dogs or pets with thick coats can suffer cold weather injuries or even death. Make sure they have enough food, water, shelter and hay to survive.

“It is common sense,” said Bates.