Winter weather can be deadly. Dozens of Americans die each year from exposure to cold. Others are killed in vehicle accidents, fires caused by dangerous use of heaters, and other winter weather accidents. Heavy accumulations of ice can bring down trees and topple utility poles/communication towers, disrupting communications and power for days. Even small accumulations of ice can be extremely dangerous to motorists and pedestrians. Bridges and overpasses are particularly dangerous because they freeze before other surfaces. Harford County often experiences extreme winters accompanied by widespread power outages. Prepare properly to avoid the winter weather hazards.
- Dress warmly with layers of loose-fitting light weight clothing and stay dry. Wear mittens, hats, scarves, and water repellent coats.
- Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat.
- Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart.
- Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow can bring on a heart attack or make a preexisting medical condition worse.
- Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
- Do NOT run a generator inside your house or in the garage. Make sure the generator is located in a well ventilated area outside your home.
- In storms of 6 inches or more, use the County Snow Plow Tracking App to learn about road conditions and when it is safe to travel.
FrostbiteOccurs when the skin and body tissue just beneath it freezes. Signs include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes, face, and the tip of the nose.
What to do?
- Cover exposed skin, but do not rub the affected area in an attempt to warm it up.
- Seek medical help immediately.
HypothermiaA dangerously low body temperature, signs of which include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.
What to do?
- Seek medical attention immediately, if necessary.
- Get the victim to a warm location.
- Remove wet clothing.
- Warm the center of the body first by wrapping the person in blankets or putting on dry clothing.
- Give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious.