The weather, in many areas of the country, has been unusual in the last several years. It has been spring in December in New York and Washington, D.C., while California and Texas have had unusual snow and freezing temperatures. When this happens, people often do not know what to do.
If more extreme temperatures occur, here are some tips on how to cope with the cold.
- Make a written plan for emergencies during freezing temperatures or winter storms.
- Use extra care with infants, children, seniors, or the disabled to help them cope with the cold.
- Layer loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of very heavy clothing. If possible, use water repellent clothing on the outside.
- Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf when outside to protect your lungs.
- Use additional scarves, gloves, and socks to protect neck, hands, and feet.
- Insulate or wrap pipes and allow faucets to drop to avoid freezing.
- Learn where and how to shut off the water valves if pipes burst.
- Move plants indoors or cover with cloth or blankets to avoid frostbite.
- Keep windows and doors closed at all times.
- Keep extra food supplies and blankets on hand in the event of power outages.
- Purchase a backup generator to use if necessary during a power outage.
- Keep containers of water or juice available for drinking in the event the water pipes do freeze and you do not have running water. It is always important to stay hydrated.
- Do not completely turn off the heat, even if away for an extended period - it takes more to reheat the residence than to keep the heat on low. This also prevents pipes bursting in ceilings and walls.
- Never bring in a heating device intended for outdoor use, such as a barbecue or other fuel-burning devices. They can produce carbon monoxide that is deadly and often undetectable.
- If purchasing or using an additional auxiliary heating device, check for safety and never leave them running unattended.
Beware these exposure symptoms for yourself and family members. If you see any of the following signs, seek medical assistance immediately.
- Confusion, dizziness, shivering, and exhaustion are signs of hypothermia. Seek medical attention at once.
- Symptoms of frostbite are gray, white, or yellow skin discoloration, as well as numbness or waxy skin. Medical attention is crucial.
- If there is overexposure to freezing temperatures, remove wet clothing immediately and warm the body with a blanket and/or warm fluids.
We are here to help you when you have maintenance problems caused by freezing temperatures. During unusual weather, please remember everyone is has the same problems and we ask for your patience. The vendors experience heavy workloads, which can cause delays for normal maintenance issues. Emergencies must take first priority during any extreme weather, such as freezing, fires, tornadoes, etc.
You can find more information on what to do during emergency conditions at www.redcross.org or www.fema.gov.