Temperatures in the Minn-Kota Region are supposed to dip sharply this weekend and with many children off school for the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday, remind them to bundle up! The Red Cross has some tips to keep them safe.
If venturing outside, wear layered lightweight clothing to keep warm. This works better than a single heavy coat. Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs. Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow. You should also:
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy, sidewalks.
- Understand the hazards of wind chill, which combines the cooling effect of wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
- Also seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of frostbite including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
At home, If the power goes out, use flashlights to provide light. Do not use candles for lighting. Don’t forget your pets – bring them indoors. If that’s not possible, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they can get to unfrozen water. Other tips include:
- Prevent frozen pipes – when the weather is very cold outside, open cabinet doors to let warm air circulate aroundwater pipes. Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to a consistent temperature.
- Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. Keep a glass or metal fire screen around the fireplace and never leave a fireplace fire unattended. If using a space heater, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to safely use the heater. Place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface. Turn the space heater off when you leave the room or go to sleep. Keep children and pets away from your space heater and do not use it to dry wet clothing.
- Use a sturdy fire screen around fireplaces when in use. Burn only wood – never burn paper or pine boughs.
- Use generators correctly –never operate a generator inside your home, including the basement or garage. Do not hook up a generator directly to your home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
- Check smoke alarms once a month by pressing the test button and replacing batteries as necessary.
- Don’t overload your electrical outlets