Dozens of Americans die each year due to exposure to cold. Add to that the number of vehicle accidents and fatalities; fires due to dangerous use of heaters, and other winter weather fatalities. Heavy accumulations of ice can bring down trees and topple utility poles/communication towers, disrupting communications and power for days. Even small accumulations of ice can be extremely dangerous to motorists and pedestrians. Bridges and overpasses are particularly dangerous because they freeze before other surfaces. Harford County often experiences extreme winters accompanied by widespread power outages. You must prepare properly to avoid the winter weather hazards.
Winter Weather Safety Tips:
Dress warmly with layers of loose-fitting light weight clothing and stay dry. Wear mittens, hats, scarves, and water repellent coats.
Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat.
Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart.
Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow can bring on a heart attack or make a preexisting medical condition worse.
Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
Do NOT run a generator inside your house or in the garage. Make sure the generator is located in a well ventilated area outside your home.
Use the County Snow Plow Tracking App to learn about road conditions and when it is safe to travel.
Signs of Frostbite: Occurs when the skin and body tissue just beneath it freezes. Loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes, face, and the tip of the nose.
What to Do?
Cover exposed skin, but do not rub the affected area in an attempt to warm it up.
Seek medical help immediately.
Signs of Hypothermia: Dangerously low body temperature. Uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.
What to Do?
Seek medical attention immediately, if necessary.
Get the victim to a warm location.
Remove wet clothing.
Warm the center of the body first by wrapping the person in blankets or putting on dry clothing.
Give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious.