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Bitter arctic air moves in; here's how to stay safe

Bitter arctic air will put millions of Minnesotans in a deep chill overnight with temperatures 25 to 30 degrees below zero. The American Red Cross recommends the following tips to stay safe during the deep freeze. COLD SAFETY TIPS Wear layers of ...

Bitter arctic air will put millions of Minnesotans in a deep chill overnight with temperatures 25 to 30 degrees below zero.

The American Red Cross recommends the following tips to stay safe during the deep freeze.

COLD SAFETY TIPS

  • Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
  • Someone should seek medical attention immediately if they have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
  • Watch for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
  • Don’t forget family pets – bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
  • Avoid frozen pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
  • Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.
  • Download the  Red Cross First Aid App  for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the  Apple iTunes  or  Google Play  stores.

HOME FIRE RISK INCREASES DURING COLD

Local Red Cross workers responded to more than 700 home fires in Minnesota during 2014, eight in just the past few days. During extremely cold weather, the risk for a fire in someone’s home can increase. To avoid fire danger, remember the following:

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  • Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.
  • Remember "3 feet from heat." If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
  • Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment someone wants to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
Related Topics: WEATHER
Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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