How to Stay Safe as Bitter Cold Heads Our Way

Bitterly cold air will sweep across most of the country for the next few days and will last well into Christmas Day. Weather experts predict temperatures could drop as much as 40 degrees below normal as the coldest weather on the planet will hit North America next week.
In addition to the extreme temperatures, this bitter cold could lead to power outages due to the increased need for heating. The American Red Cross has steps you should take to stay safe in this dangerously cold weather:


Winter weather can bring life-threatening conditions. Stay indoors and wear loose-fitting, light, warm clothing.

  • Check relatives, neighbors and friends, especially if they are elderly or live alone.
  • Avoid overexertion, such as B. shoveling snow, pushing a vehicle or walking in deep snow.
  • Seal doors and window sills with weatherstrips to keep cold air out. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to create an extra layer of insulation that keeps cold air out.
  • Make sure you have enough heating material on hand.
  • Protect pipes from freezing.
  • If possible, bring your pets indoors during cold winter weather. Bring other animals or livestock to protected areas and ensure they have access to unfrozen drinking water. When the animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snowdrifts, ice, or other obstacles.


Wear layered clothing, mittens or gloves, and a hat.

  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from severely cold air.
  • Stay dry. Change wet clothing frequently to avoid losing body heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulating value and quickly wicks heat away from the body.
  • Stretch before you go out. If you go shoveling snow, do a few stretches to warm up your body. This reduces the likelihood of muscle injury.
  • Avoid overexertion, such as B. shoveling heavy snow, pushing a vehicle or walking in deep snow. Exposure to the cold and hard work can cause a heart attack. Sweating can lead to cold and hypothermia.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. In winter weather, slips and falls are common, resulting in painful and sometimes disabling injuries.
  • If you need to get out during a winter storm, use public transportation whenever possible. About 70 percent of winter deaths caused by ice and snow occur in cars.
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To avoid frostbite and hypothermia, beware of the wind chill and dress appropriately.

  • When outside, stay active to maintain body heat, take frequent breaks from the cold, and avoid putting unnecessary stress on any part of the body.
  • Drink liquids like warm broth or juice, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Get out of the cold immediately if signs of hypothermia or frostbite appear. These signs include uncontrolled shaking, extreme tiredness, appearing very pale, or numb fingers, toes, ears, or nose.
  • To treat someone who may have hypothermia or frostbite, gently warm them
    Wrap them in a blanket and give them warm drinks and high-energy foods. Call 911 if these signs are severe.


Use flashlights in the dark – no candles.

  • Do not drive unless necessary. Traffic lights are out and the streets could be congested.
  • Turn off and unplug all appliances, appliances, and electronics. When the power is turned back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment. Leave a light on so you know when power is restored.
  • If a power outage lasts two hours or less, don’t worry about losing perishable food. During an extended outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to protect your food. Use perishable foods from the fridge first. Then use food from the freezer. If the power outage lasts more than a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your frozen items. Store food in a dry, cool place and always cover it.
  • If you use a generator, keep it dry and do not use it when it is wet.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal burner inside a home, garage, basement, or other partially enclosed area. Store this device outdoors and away from doors, windows, and air vents that could allow carbon monoxide into the interior.
  • Connect devices directly to the generator. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet.
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