Winter is making its presence known in eastern Nebraska and the Douglas County Health Department urges you to prepare for cold weather safety if you have to be outdoors.
“You need to plan for the elements if you are going to be safe outdoors,” Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “Cold weather can be dangerous and things can change quickly.”
Cold weather safety recommendations include:
· Limit your outdoor time and move to a warm location whenever possible.
· Dress in layered clothing for the best protection.
· Loose fitting clothing is better than tight clothing that reduces blood circulation.
· Make a special effort to protect your ears, face, hands and feet in extreme cold.
· A hat will help prevent you from losing heat.
· Wear waterproof boots, insulated socks or two pairs of socks to protect your feet.
As temperatures fall, it is important to remember the elderly and infants are most at danger of suffering serious injury from the cold. DCHD encourages everyone to check on their elderly neighbors, but remember, staying inside also can have its dangers.
“If a portable heating device uses combustible fuel, it should not be used indoors. That includes lanterns, cook stoves and grills,” Dr. Pour said. “Fires should not be left in unattended fireplaces, and never, ever leave children alone with candles.”
Cold weather also creates concerns for travelers. If the Weather Service has issued a warning, consider delaying your trip. If you must travel, tell friends or relatives about your planned route and estimated time of arrival. Take a cell phone, be sure it is charged, and make sure your car is ready for winter. Keep a full gas tank and have a safety kit that includes blankets, booster cables, a flashlight, and maps.
If you are stuck in the snow and have to stay in your car to keep warm, run the engine for no more than 10 minutes per hour, keep a downwind window slightly open, and be sure the tailpipe is not blocked.
“Plan ahead,” Dr. Pour emphasized. “It might save your life.”