Dangerous Cold: 10 Things To Know

Safety tips for the extreme cold

By Lisa Balde
|  Monday, Jan 27, 2014  |  Updated 8:28 AM CDT
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    Temperatures in Illinois and northwest Indiana plummeted overnight Sunday, and the temps will stay dangerously low for the start of the week.

    Such extreme cold creates hazardous conditions, and residents are urged to follow recommended winter safety procedures. 

    “During this bitter cold and snowy weather, Illinois residents should stay inside as much as possible and limit their exposure to the cold temperatures," Gov. Pat Quinn said. "Don't forget to dress in layers, check in on friends and family who may need additional assistance, and bring pets indoors. Residents can also take advantage of our warming centers if necessary."

    Here are 10 things to consider ahead of the extreme cold:

    --Stay indoors if possible. If you must go outdoors, state officials urge you dress warmly and wear loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Wear a scarf over your mouth to protect your lungs.

    --Watch for signs of hypothermia, including uncontrollable shivering, weak pulse, disorientation, incoherence and drowsiness, and frostbite, including gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness and waxy feeling skin.

    --Have safe emergency heating equipment in your home, as well as a flashlight, portable radio and three days' worth of food in case the power goes out.

    --To prevent frozen pipes, State Farm suggests letting your hot and cold faucets drip overnight and open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks on exterior walls.
     
    --Disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
     
    --If you are going away for an extended period of time, be sure to maintain adequate heat inside your home at no lower than 55 degrees.
     
    --Prevent ice dams by appropriately insulating your attic’s floor and using a dehumidifier to control water vapor. Seal all openings that would allow vapor to rise into the attic.

    --On the road, AAA suggests keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle's trunk with the following: cell phone charger, flares, flashlight, drinking water, preserved food, cat litter for traction, heavy gloves, jumper cables and a first-aid kit.

    --If your vehicle breaks down or leaves the roadway, keep your doors locked, safety belts buckled and children safe and secure in properly installed safety seats. Move your vehicle off the road safely away from traffic.

    --For emergency roadway assistance, pull over and dial *999.

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