Red Cross tips, stay warm & safe during frigid temperatures
By American Red Cross, South Plains Chapter | Posted By James Clark - email
LUBBOCK, Texas, January 31, 2011—Bone chilling temperatures will move into the South Plains on Monday and are expected to linger for several days. Forecasters say temperatures will plunge into the single digits with dangerously low wind chills as low as 15 to 20 degrees below zero. American Red Cross urges everyone to be safe and prepare as much as possible.
"There is usually an increase in home fires at this time of year because of the increased use of space heaters and the use of ovens to stay warm," said Bill Curnow, Chairman of the South Plains Regional Chapter. "We have steps people can follow to stay warm and reduce their risk of starting a fire in their home."
Heat Your Home Safely
All heaters need space! Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment, fireplaces and stoves.
Place portable space heaters on a hard, level, nonflammable surface. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away. Look for a model that shuts off automatically if the space heater tips over. Do not use heating equipment to dry wet clothing.
Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
Never leave portable heaters, wood burning stoves or fireplaces unattended. Turn them off before leaving or going to bed.
Keep the fire in the fireplace by using a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
Be careful with candles – do not use candles for lighting if the power goes out. Use flashlights only.
Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, which will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat.
Mittens provide more warmth to your hands than gloves. Wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears.
Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
If you must work outdoors take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of frostbite including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
Don't Forget Your Neighbors and Fido
Check on people who require special assistance such as elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
Don't forget 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.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.