Tips for keeping loved ones, pets safe during extreme cold

Weather

CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cold temperatures are expected to continue overnight and into the early part of your workweek.

With the wind chill, some communities experienced sub-zero temperatures on Sunday. The National Weather Service has provided some tips to help you maximize safety during the winter.

EXTREME COLD SAFETY TIPS:

  • Minimize travel.
  • Stay indoors during the worst part of the extreme cold.
  • Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle if you must travel.
  • Check tire pressure, antifreeze levels, heater/defroster, etc.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves for potential pipe bursts.
  • Check on the elderly.

HOW TO DRESS FOR EXTREME COLD:

  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing, and a hat.
  • Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves.
  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
  • Try to stay dry and out of the wind.

FROSTBITE AND HYPOTHERMIA:

Officials say exposure to extreme cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia and become life-threatening. Infants and elderly people are most susceptible.

A wind chill of -20° Fahrenheit (F) will cause frostbite in just 30 minutes. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected seek medical attention immediately. If you cannot seek health care right away, slowly rewarm affected areas.

Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops to less than 95°F and can be fatal. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If a person’s body temperature gets below 95°F, seek medical care immediately.

If medical care is not available, warm the person slowly, starting with the core of their body core. If necessary, use your body heat to help. Get the person into dry clothing and wrap in a warm blanket covering the head and neck. Do not give the person alcohol, drugs, coffee or any hot beverage or food. Warm broth is the first food to offer.

WINTER WEATHER PET SAFETY:

  • Keep pets indoors in possible, especially if they are sensitive to the cold weather due to age, illness or breed type.
  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm,
  • Make sure your dog always wears ID tags as more pets get lost in the winter than any other season.
  • Thoroughly wipe off your pet’s legs and stomach when they come inside after being sleet, snow or ice.
  • Avoid salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter as a longer coat will provide more warmth.
  • Consider getting short-hair breeds a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.
  • Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather.

For more information visit the National Weather Service website.

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