Winter Survival: How To Stay Safe in Below-Freezing Temperatures
Central New York can get pretty cold in the winter - if you're not prepared, that cold can even be dangerous.
We're prepared to deal with plenty of snow, but extreme cold, like when the wind chill drive temperatures into double-digit negative values can be more dangerous than a foot of snow.
What Are Some Precautions You Need to Take in Extreme Cold
- The best choice in extreme cold is to stay inside, where it's warm.
- If you must go outside, make your trips short.
- It's important to dress warmly and stay dry. Adults and children should wear:
• a hat
• a scarf or knit mask to
cover face and mouth
• sleeves that are snug at the wrist
• mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
• water-resistant coat and boots
• several layers of loosefitting
The CDC says it's important to wear the right warm clothing: "Be sure the outer layer of your clothing is tightly woven, preferably wind resistant, to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind. Wool, silk, or polypropylene inner layers of clothing will hold more body heat than cotton. Stay dry— wet clothing chills the body rapidly. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm."
Remember, in temperatures with significant windchill - you can develop frostbite in as little as 30 minutes, or less.
Recognize the Signs of Hypothermia and Frostbite
Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water
Warnings signs of hypothermia:
- shivering, exhaustion
- confusion, fumbling hands
- memory loss, slurred speech
At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin—frostbite may be beginning. Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite:
- a white or grayish-yellow skin area
- skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
A victim is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb.