October 17, 2011

It's Winter Weather Awareness Week!

The week of October 16-22 is Winter Weather Awareness Week in the Pacific Northwest.  The following is information from the National Weather Service's Portland Forecast Office.

Exposure to cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia, and become life-threatening.  Infants and the elderly are the most susceptible.  When a winter storm approaches, stay inside, or seek shelter if caught outdoors.

Other tips to follow to better protect you and others:

  • When using an alternate heat from a fireplace, wood stove or space heather, be sure to use fire safeguards and properly ventilate.  Close off unneeded rooms in the building.  Stuff towels or rags in cracks and under doors.
  • Cover windows at night to minimize loss of heat through the windows.
  • Eat and drink sufficient amounts of water.  Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.  Fluids prevent dehydration.
  • Wear layers of loose fitting, lightweight and warm clothing.  Remove layers to avoid overheating and perspiration and subsequent chill.
  • Make sure pets have plenty of food, water and proper shelter form the elements.

If caught outdoors:

  • Find shelter immediately.
  • Try to stay dry, and cover all exposed body parts.
  • If no shelter is available, build a lean-to, windbreak or a snow cave to protect yourself form the wind.
  • Build a fire for heat and to attract attention for rescue.
  • Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
  • Melt snow for drinking water.
  • Avoid eating snow, as this will lower your body temperature.

Additional winter weather safety tips.