With the upcoming winter month in mind, the Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District has the following safety tips for our citizens:
Do not venture out if you do not have to. If you do need to go out, limit your exposure, and know your limitations. If you must go out do so during mid day when the sun is at its strongest and the temperature at its highest.
CLOTHING - Wear several layers of clothing. Including a waterproof and or wind proof outermost layer. Also always wear a hat and gloves. Our head is a great source of heat loss for our body (30-40%). Wearing a hat will help conserve body heat. Ears and fingertips as well as noses are extremely susceptible to frost nip and frost bite. Should your clothes become wet, remove yourself from the environment and remove the wet clothing immediately.
Frost-nip is a common and reversible result of exposure to the cold. Persons suffering from Frost-nip can easily re-warm cold fingers, toes or nose by gently rubbing these areas briskly.
Frostbite, however, is a more serious condition caused by long exposure to the cold. This, if left untreated, may result in the actual freezing of an extremity, digit or nose. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RE-WARM A FROSTBITTEN EXTREMITY BY RUBBING IT. Re-warming must be done gradually and in an Emergency Department.
DRINKING - Avoid Alcoholic beverages. Contrary to popular belief alcohol does not warm the body. In fact it has an opposite effect by causing vasodilatation and decreasing the bodies natural insulating properties. It also suppresses shivering, and impairs judgment.
If you anticipate being out in the elements for an extended period of time, do not smoke. It causes changes in the circulatory system making the body even colder.
HOUSEHOLD - Make sure you have a working smoke detector in every bedroom and on every level. Check and change the batteries twice a year, when daylight savings time occurs.
Do not attempt to heat your home with the stove or oven. Burning gas in a closed house or apartment uses up oxygen and produces deadly carbon monoxide gases
Kerosene heaters are dangerous. Make sure that electric heaters and blankets are U.L. or F.M. rated, and kept away from any combustible materials such as draperies and linens. Unplug electric blankets and portable electric heaters when not in use.
Mild - (body temp. 90-95 degrees) earliest stages of hypothermia characterized by slurred speech or difficulty in speaking, cool skin and excessive shivering.
Moderate - (body temp. 85-90 degrees) as body temperature drops victims become stuporous. Shivering will stop at about 89.0 degrees and will be replaced with muscular rigidity. Followed shortly by the loss of voluntary movement.
Severe - (body temp. less than 78 degrees) victims become unresponsive with irregular heartbeat and cardiac arrest.
WHO IS MOST SUSCEPTIBLE?
Elderly - They may be unaware of their limitations. Due to limited mobility, they may be forced to spend increased amount of time exposed to the cold weather due to slow ambulation.
Children - Their thermoregulatory system is still immature. Babies rely on adults for warmth.
Infirmed - Due to illness or injury, they cannot remove themselves from the cold source.
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© 2004 Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District
Last modified: April 10, 2006