Maple Valley Fire and Life Safety cold winter hazards tips
November 21, 2011 · Updated 12:02 PM
Maple Valley Fire and Life Safety cold weather hazards tips
Do not leave your pets outside in the cold for long periods of time. Limit outdoor activity and give plenty of water. If your pet is sensitive to the cold, let them outside long enough to relieve him/herself. Please keep in mind wind-chill makes days colder than actual temperature readings.
Frozen Lake/ Ponds
No, ice is never safe. Please do not let children or pets play on iced over water. The water in our area does not freeze deep enough for any type of activity. If someone does fall into the water call 9-1-1 immediately and know the signs and symptoms of hyperthermia.
Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is around 98.6 F (37 C).
Hypothermia occurs as your body temperature passes below 95 F (35 C). When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs cannot work correctly. Left untreated, hypothermia eventually leads to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system and to death.
Hypothermia is most often caused by exposure to cold weather or immersion in a cold body of water.
Signs and symptoms of hypothermia include:
- Clumsiness or lack of coordination
- Slurred speech or mumbling
- Confusion or difficulty thinking
- Poor decision making, such as trying to remove warm clothes
- Drowsiness or very low energy
- Apathy, or lack of concern about one's condition
- Progressive loss of consciousness
- Weak pulse
- Shallow breathing
If traveling for the holidays make sure loved ones know the route you will be taking. Allow extra time in your schedule. Give an estimated time of arrival and have your cell phone fully charged. Make sure that your car is well-equipped for travel.
It's a good idea to take your car in for a winter "check-up." Your mechanic can inspect your anti-freeze, battery, windshield wipers, and other cold-weather components. You also want to be sure that your tire pressure is at the recommended levels, as tires can be hazardous in wet weather when they are filled to improper levels.Items to have in your car:
- Jumper cables
- Small shovel (It's useful to have a shovel to dig out your wheels in case you get stuck)
- Kitty litter (to pour under the wheels for traction)
- First aid kit
- Water/FoodExtra change of clothes
- Sturdy shoes/boots
- Pack chains if you plan on heading into the snow. Once you get on the road, drive slowly and carefully.
Don't drink and drive; be aware of your physical and legal limits and the potential dangers of intoxicated driving. To avoid other drivers who may have celebrated too much, stay off the roads at high-risk times, such as after nightfall on New Year's Eve.