Snowstorms and Extreme Cold
Winter storms and extreme cold can be difficult to prepare for, especially if you and your family have never experienced one. These adverse conditions create increased risks of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, and carbon monoxide poisoning in homes and cars.
Winter storms and blizzards bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, low visibility, and high winds. These storms and low temperature can last anywhere from a few hours to several days and potentially knock out heat, power, communication services, and cause your vehicle to not start.
Know our community’s risks for winter storms and cold weather by reading information on our local news outlets channels and websites. By preparing ahead, you ensure that you, your family members, your home, and even your pets are protected from the elements and any potential risks they may bring.
Check out these tips from local and national organizations on how to be prepared during these next couple of days:
Tips for Extremely Cold Weather
- Stay inside as much as possible and limit time spent in the cold.
- Dress in layers and keep clothes and footwear dry.
- Check on family, friends, and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance.
- Know the symptoms of cold-related health issues, such as frostbite and hypothermia, and seek medical attention if health conditions are severe.
- Make sure your vehicle has an emergency kit that includes an ice scraper, a blanket and flashlight, and keep the fuel tank above half full.
Symptoms Of Frostbite And Hypothermia
Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers, and toes.
- Signs: Numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin.
- Actions: Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water. Use body heat to warm. Do not massage or use a heating pad.
Hypothermia is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency.
- Signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, or drowsiness.
- Actions: Go to a warm room. Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin. Keep dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the head and neck.
Stay Safe While Staying Warm
The Fire Department wants people to stay safe as they stay warm and offer the following tips:
- Always turn space heaters off when no one is around and before going to sleep.
- Keep space heaters 3 feet away from anything that can burn.
- Never use a stove for heating the home.
- Once a year, furnaces and fireplaces need to be inspected.
- Everyone should make sure to have working smoke alarms and carbon dioxide detectors on every floor of their home.
Pets Get Cold Too
Minneapolis Animal Care and Control reminds residents that their pets feel the cold, too. Here are some reminders from Animal Control:
- Keep pets in proper shelter and out of direct exposure to the elements.
- Never leave pets unattended in a parked car for any period of time.
- Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia.
- Leaving pets outside in the cold can result in citations of $500 or more, seizure of the animal, or the death of the animal from the cold.
Anyone who sees an animal outside without shelter or in an unattended car can call Minneapolis Animal Care & Control immediately – in Minneapolis, that’s 311 (612-673-3000). If they believe the situation to be life-threatening and the animal is nonresponsive, they should call 911.