- Prepare Your Home Insulate doors, windows and pipes. Install and inspect smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire-extinguishers, and keep batteries fresh. Know how to shut off water valves and turn taps to a trickle, to prevent freezing. Check on neighbours, the elderly, and those whom you know to be living alone. Prepare an emergency supply kit for your home, with a three day supply of non-perishable food and water, warm clothing, blankets, first aid kit, battery powered weather radio, torch (flashlight) and batteries, long-burning “survival” candles, matches, pet food and supplies.
- Prepare Your Cars Prepare an emergency car kit with jumper cables, first aid kit, extra blankets, warm boots and sleeping-bags. If you become stranded, remain in the car and wait for help to arrive. Do not set out on foot unless you see a building close by where you know that you can take shelter. Check the car’s radiator, anti-freeze, windshield wiper-fluid, tires and tire pressure, and keep the gas tank nearly full to help avoid acquiring ice in the tank and fuel-lines.
- Be Prepared when Outdoors Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other strenuous work in the cold. If you have to do heavy outdoor chores, dress warmly, work slowly and take frequent breaks. And, if you experience severe chest pain or other heart attack symptoms, stop working and call 9-1-1.
- Beware of Frostbite When outdoors, or even in a very cold house, wear warm clothing, including hats, thick socks, gloves and scarves. Avoid long periods outside with exposed skin, especially in windy conditions. At the first signs of skin redness or pain, get out of the cold and protect exposed skin. The nose, ear lobes, fingertips, and toes are most likely to be adversely affected by extreme cold first. If the skin has turned white or grey, and feels firm, frozen or numb, re-warm it in warm, circulating water, about the temperature of a hot bath. Actively move it but don’t rub it. Drink warm, non-alcoholic liquids. Do not smoke or chew tobacco, as it reduces circulation.
- Guard against Hypothermia Hypothermia means that a person’s core body temperature is too low. It can strike during cold weather or when people are chilled from rain, sweat, or cold water. Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness are signs of hypothermia. Babies with hypothermia have bright red, cold skin, and very low energy. To self-treat: warm the center of the body first (the chest, neck, head and groin), then the feet and legs. Make yourself or other hypothermia victims warm by covering with dry clothes, provide a heat source and warm , non-alcoholic beverages, then get medical attention if possible.
- How to Avoid Deadly Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill without warning. Each year, more than 500 people in the United States alone die or become sick from “CO poisoning”. Never use generators, grills, or other gasoline, propane, or charcoal burning devices inside your home, garage, or carport or near doors, windows, or vents. If possible, during a power-outage, stay with friends, family or in a shelter. If you notice symptoms, get yourself or another victim into fresh air immediately, and seek medical attention.