Each year, dozens of Americans die due to exposure to cold. Dangerously low temperatures can be life threatening if protective action is not taken.
DHMH offer these tips for protecting yourself and your family in extreme cold weather:
- Cover your head. You lose as much as 50 percent of your body heat through your head.
- Wear several layers of lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. The air between the layers acts as insulation to keep you warmer.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect lungs from direct cold air. Cover your ears and the lower part of your face, too.
- Wear mittens rather than fingered gloves. The close contact of fingers helps keep your hands warm.
- Wear warm leg coverings and heavy socks, or two pairs of lightweight socks.
- Wear waterproof boots or sturdy shoes to keep your feet warm and dry.
- Be alert to other common winter hazards, such as carbon monoxide (CO) and injuries from heat sources. CO is produced by small gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. This colorless, odorless gas can cause severe illness and death. Heating sources can also cause fires, electrical injuries and burns if not properly installed, operated and maintained.
- Review your family emergency communications plan and emergency supply kits for homes and vehicles. Each family member should know what to do and how to contact others should an emergency arise. The home emergency supply kit should include unexpired food items, medical supplies and batteries. Vehicles should contain items such as heavy blankets, water, nonperishable food, a flashlight and a snow shovel.
More information on emergency preparedness is available at http://preparedness.dhmh.maryland.gov.
Additional information, including the DHMH Extreme Cold Plan, Cold Reports, and fact sheets, is available on the DHMH cold weather site: http://.dhmh.maryland.gov/winterrpts/SitePages/Home.aspx.
For information in Garrett County call 1-866-254-6184. If you have an emergency, call 911.