Basic Winter Storm Preparedness & Hypothermia Awareness

Filed in Preparedness by on December 16, 2013

winterstormTERMS TO LOOK FOR:
Winter Storm Watch = Severe weather in the next 12-48 hours.
Winter Storm Warning = Severe weather is here.
Ice Storm Warning = Ice accumulations of ¼ inch plus.
Blizzard Warning = Sustained winds or gusts to 35 mph or greater, with considerable falling or blowing snow. Visibility is less than ¼ of a mile, and lasts 3 hours or longer.
Frost/Freeze Warning = Below freezing temperatures expected.
Freezing Rain = Rain that freezes when it hits the power lines, walkways, trees, and roads.

HOW SHOULD YOU RESPOND TO EXTREME WINTER WEATHER OR STORMS?
Be proactive in your personal emergency planning by developing a “Plan A”, and an alternative “Plan B”. Your plans for safety and survival in extreme winter weather or storms should include a communication plan, a transportation plan, a shelter plan, shelter-in-place plan, a medical plan, and a plan to take care of your pets.

AFTER YOU MAKE YOUR PLANS:
Discuss these with your neighbors, relatives, community groups and friends. Also, look at who might need help in your circle of contacts. Put in your cell phone your “ICE” = In Case of Emergency contacts. Know how to get help and assistance when needed. Learn how to text! Simple text messages may be successful communication alternatives to phone calls. Download “Aps” (internet applications) for use on your smart phone, if you have one (i.e. First Aid, Shelter, Weather Alerts).

INFORMATION ON HYPOTHERMIA:
When exposed to the cold, the body loses heat faster than it can produce it. This results in an abnormally low body temperature. It can also affect the brain, as you could be unable to think clearly or move well. You may not even know it is happening.

WHO IS AT RISK FOR HYPOTHERMIA?
Elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heat. Babies sleeping in cold rooms. Adults under the influence of alcohol. Mentally ill individuals. People who remain outdoors for long periods of time; such as the homeless, hikers, or hunters.

WARNING SIGNS OF HYPOTHERMIA:
Adults may experience:
– Shivering
– Exhaustion
– Confusion
– Fumbling Hands
– Memory Loss
– Slurred Speech
– Drowsiness

RESPONDING TO HYPOTHERMIA:
• Get the person into a warm room
• Remove wet clothing
• Warm the center of the body first, i.e. chest, neck, head, groin
• May use blankets, clothing, or skin to skin contact
• Give the person warm beverages only if they are conscious
• No alcoholic beverages!
• Get medical attention.

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