Get Ready Capitol Region
 
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Preventing Injuries and Exposures - Click here>> for more information on EMS Safety
 
 
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Winter Safety Tips

 

Avoid Hypothermia: Cold temperatures can be a fatal. Once exposed to cold or freezing temperature for long periods of time, we run the risk of losing a serious amount of body heat. If not treated immediately, this could lead to brain damage and even death. It is important to know how to avoid hypothermia.

During the colder days, we should be aware of the signs and symptoms of cold stress or cold-induced injuries like hypothermia and frostbite.

 

Signs and symptoms of hypothermia:

• Cool skin
• Slower, irregular breathing
• Slower heartbeat
• Weak pulse
• Uncontrollable shivering
• Severe shaking
• Rigid muscles
• Drowsiness
• Exhaustion
• Slurred speech
• Memory lapses

Signs and symptoms of frostbite:

• Paleness of the skin
• Sensation of coldness or pain
• Pain disappears after a while with the freezing of the tissues.
• Tissues become increasingly whiter and harder.

Use a buddy system: This is not the time to enjoy solitude while accomplishing your tasks outdoors. You don’t want to be working one minute and thawing your fingers the next. So get a partner and work on monitoring each other for signs of cold stress. Don’t be stubborn because most of the time, it’s just difficult to determine danger signs when you only have yourself to rely on.


Layer clothing: At this time of the year, the saying “less is more” surely does not hold true. Remember that it’s better to go for several thin layers of clothing instead of wearing just a couple of thick layers. For clothes next to the skin, choose those with synthetic fabrics to avoid absorption of sweat. For your outer layer, choose fabrics made of waterproof and wind-resistant material. Wear warm gloves, hats and hoods.

In extreme conditions, don a warm woolen hood that covers your neck, head and ears. If you get hot while working, just open your jacket. Don’t remove your hat and gloves. The key is in wearing clothing that can be adjusted to changing conditions.

Avoid wearing tight-fitting footwear as this restricts blood flow. Your shoes or boots should allow you to wear either one thick or two thin pairs of socks.

Eat and drink hot or warm foods and liquids: You might have to say goodbye to hot coffee and cocoa for a while. Do not drink caffeinated and alcoholic beverages while working in cold weather. Instead, go for warm, sweet beverages like sports drinks and sugar water. Keep in mind that you are also at risk of dehydration under cold weather so make it a habit to drink up.

Good news, though. You can feast on hot pasta dishes, soups and other foods rich in calories. Remember, though, that if you’re sick or under medication, you are more at risk to get cold stress. This is especially true if you have hypertension, diabetes or a cardiovascular disease.


Wear eye protection:
Ice or snow + excessive ultraviolet rays = eye injury. Yes, this is one proven equation. Before working outside, check first if you may be exposed to glare or, worse, blowing ice crystals. If conditions point to the affirmative, then go wear the right kind of eye protection.

Prepare for possible isolation in your home: Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. If a thermostat controls your furnace and your electricity is cut off by a storm, you will need emergency heat.

If you use Kerosene heaters as an emergency heating option, never use any fuel other than kerosene in a kerosene heater. When using kerosene heaters, maintain ventilation to avoid buildup of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects. Never burn charcoal indoors.

Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood burning stove.

Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your household knows how to use them.

Temporarily close off heat in some rooms.

 
 
 
General Safety Tips

 

 Travel Safety

Do NOT drive while fatigued
Avoid Excessive Speed
Wear Seat Belts

 Prepare Yourself

  • While Walking or Jogging stay as far off the roadway as possible, wear bright colored clothes, wear a reflective belt/vest, and carry a flashlight or chemical stick

  • REMEMBER, INCIDENTS TAKE NO HOLIDAYS OR TIME OFF  -  “SAFETY FIRST”


Know What Storm ‘Watches’ and ‘Warnings’ Mean
  • Storm WATCH: Storm is possible in your area

  • Storm WARNING: Storm is headed for your area

When a Storm ‘Watch’ is Issued
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio, and TV stations, or cable TV such as The Weather Channel for further updates.

  • Be alert to changing weather conditions.

  • Avoid unnecessary travel.

When a Storm ‘Warning’ is Issued

  • Stay indoors during the storm.

  • Understand the hazards of wind chill, which combines the cooling effect of wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin.

  • As the wind increases, heat is carried away from a person’s body at an accelerated rated, driving down the body temperature.

Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if you must…

  • Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk.

  • Keep your car’s gas tank full for emergency use.

  • Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.

 

If You Get Stuck

  • Stay with your car. Do not try to walk to safety.

  • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.

  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.

  • Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.