Dangers of Extreme Cold
While your home can get damaged due to winter weather and extreme cold, your personal health is also at risk.
Fifty-three people died and three were injured due to extreme cold in 2015.
It is important to be aware of the effect extremely cold temperatures can have on you. The two main conditions to be aware of are frostbite and hypothermia.
Frostbite is caused when your skin is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Physical symptoms are white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels unusually firm, or waxy numbness.
Hypothermia is when your body temperature falls to an abnormally low temperature, caused from long exposure to cold weather. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. If someone’s body temperature is below 95°F, seek medical attention immediately.
To avoid these conditions, stay indoors if possible. If not, dress warm in layers and try to keep dry.
Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Cold-Weather Killer
Carbon monoxide is a gas you cannot see, taste, or smell. According to ready.gov, an average of 430 Americans die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. Oftentimes, it is a result of faulty, improperly used, or vented consumer products like furnaces, ranges, water heaters, room heaters, and engine-powered equipment, such as portable generators.
However, there are precautions you can take to help protect yourself, your family, and your employees from deadly carbon monoxide fumes.
Reduce the chance of carbon monoxide exposure in your workplace by performing regular maintenance on equipment and appliances that can produce carbon monoxide. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home, including outside of all bedrooms.
Consider having all fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys serviced annually by a professional. Use portable generators on in well-ventilated areas aware from doors, windows, vents, and any other openings to prevent fumes from entering the home.
For additional carbon monoxide safety information, visit usfa.fema.gov or osha.gov.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 30, Iss 1