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Ways to stay safe in extreme cold

Posted at 5:24 PM, Dec 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-16 18:27:16-05
A system bringing a wintry mix and snow moves into the viewing area.
 
We will also be dealing with colder air and wind.
 
Omaha Public Schools cancelled Saturday activities.
 
Hypothermia and frostbite can happen in a matter of minutes with frigid temperatures and windy conditions. 
 
Frostbite and hypothermia can creep, especially if you have exposed skin. 
 
Frostbite starts with red skin, said Ross Mathiasen with UNMC’s emergency medicine. 
 
"You can initially get some pain in your extremities as well,” Mathiasen said. “After those initial steps when frostbite starts to get a little bit worse, then you can get numbness." 
 
If you have to be outside, even for a short errand, it's important to bring water and an extra change of clothes.
 
"Being prepared, have a kit available in your vehicle,” Mathiasen said. “If you have to be out and about, have multiple layers, have blankets with you.” 
 
Extreme cold can be disorienting.
 
Mathiasen says to make sure someone knows where you are. 
 
Getting wet is one of the most dangerous things that can happen. 
 
"That is extremely dangerous because as soon as your skin starts to get wet and clothing gets wet, the rate that heat leaves your body is much, much greater," he said.
 
These two friends say they know the dangers of being outside in the cold, and don't like it at all.
 
"I think it's awful," said Cassie Colbert, Council Bluffs. "It's the worst. It is definitely the worst part of living here." 
 
"I do not like the cold and I live in the wrong part of the country," said Brittany Sanford, Council Bluffs.  
 
It's not a bad idea to start your car every few hours overnight. 
 
Frigid temperatures could freeze your car to the point that it won't start.