Winter Weather Safety
Every winter people die in America from exposure to cold, carbon monoxide poisoning, traffic accidents on icy and snowy roads, and heart attacks when shoveling snow. To survive a winter storm you must be prepared. When winter is here, follow these tips:Indoor Tips:
- Keep space heaters away from walls, furniture, and curtains.
- Drink non-alcoholic beverages like tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and soup.
- Prescription drugs may increase vulnerability to cold. Check with your doctor or pharmacist.
- If you suspect a problem with your heater, have it checked immediately.
- Keep your carbon monoxide detector in working order.
- Offer assistance to elderly and disabled people living alone.
- Listen to the radio for continuous weather updates.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, warm/dry clothing in several layers.
- Wear a hat.
- Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
- Wear mittens since they are warmer than gloves.
- To protect against frostbite, cover any exposed skin.
If you get frostbite, warm the area slowly by wrapping it or placing it next to warm skin. Do not rub the affected area.
If you experience dizziness, confusion, impaired vision, numbness, stiffness, a puffy face, slowed breathing, or fatigue, you may have hypothermia. Call 911 immediately and move to a warmer location. Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition that causes your body temperature to fall below normal which will affect your normal body functions.
Only shovel snow when in good physical condition. When shoveling snow, remember these tips:
- Rest frequently and pace yourself.
- Use a proper snow shovel.
- Lift with your legs, not your back.
- If you begin to have chest or arm pain, stop immediately and go indoors. Overexertion can cause sore muscles, falls on slippery surfaces, and heart attacks in people of all ages.
Heating equipment is another big concern during the winter months. Millions of dollars in fire losses and numerous lives are lost annually across the United States due to unsafe heating equipment or heating equipment that is not properly cared for. Follow these recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for safe heating during the winter.
- When buying a new space heater, make sure it carries the mark of an independent testing laboratory, and be sure to have fixed space heaters installed by a qualified technician, according to manufacturer's instructions or applicable codes. Or make sure a qualified technician checks to see that the unit has been properly installed.
- Keep a 36-inch clearance between space heaters and anything that can burn.
- Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, chimney connectors and all other solid-fueled heating equipment inspected annually by a professional, and cleaned as often as inspections suggest. Use only wood that is properly seasoned to reduce creosote build-up.
- Make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room. Allow fireplace and woodstove ashes to cool before disposing them in a metal container.
- Have any gas-fueled heating device installed with proper attention to ventilation. If unvented gas space heaters are used in bedrooms or bathrooms, make sure they are small and well-mounted. NFPA codes prohibit use of liquefied petroleum gas heaters with self-contained fuel supplies.
- Test smoke alarms monthly; install a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.
This information is provided by the Clayton County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) in cooperation with Region VI Homeland Security Emergency Management.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 May 2011 13:39