What to do When Thing go Sub-Zero – Cold Weather Safety
Each winter Sioux Falls spends at least a few days below zero (if not more). If you're new to the northern plains or have lived here a long time, it's always good to review some super cold weather safety information.
Here's some great information from the CDC:
Protect Your Body From Cold
When it's super cold it's always best to stay inside somewhere warm, especially if the wind is blowing. But, that's not always possible. If you have to go out in the cold dressing properly is the key.
Adults and children should wear:
- A hat
- A scarf or knit mask to cover the face and mouth
- Sleeves that are snug at the wrist
- Mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
- Water-resistant coat and boots
- Several layers of loose-fitting clothing
Be sure the outer layer of your clothing is tightly woven, preferably wind resistant, to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind. Wool, silk, or polypropylene inner layers of clothing will hold more body heat than cotton.
Stay dry—wet clothing chills the body rapidly. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm. Also, avoid getting gasoline or alcohol on your skin while de-icing and fueling your car or using a snow blower. These materials in contact with the skin greatly increase heat loss from the body.
Do not ignore shivering. It’s an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.
Avoid exertion if you have to work in the cold. Dress warm and work slowly. The body is already working hard just to stay warm, don’t overdo it.
Protect Your Home From Cold
You may need fresh air coming in for your heater or foremergency cooking arrangements. However, if you don’tneed extra ventilation, keep as much heat as possible insideyour home. Avoid unnecessary opening of doors or windows.Close off unneeded rooms, stuff towels or rags in cracksunder doors, and close draperies or cover windows withblankets at night.
- Use fireplaces, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside and do not leak flue gas into the indoor air space.
- Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home.
- Eat well-balanced meals to help you stay warmer.
- Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors—the fumes are deadly.
- Never use a generator inside the house, in the basement, in the garage, or near a window.
- Never leave lit candles unattended.
Serious cold might freeze your pipes. Here are a few ideas to try to avoid that, and what to do if they do freeze.
- Leave all water taps slightly open so they drip continuously.
- Keep the indoor temperature warm.
- Improve the circulation of heated air near pipes. For example, open the cabinet doors beneath the kitchen sink.
- If your pipes do freeze, do not thaw them with a torch. Instead, thaw them slowly by directing the warm air from an electric hair dryer onto the pipes.
Protect Your Car From the Cold
- Avoid dangerous winter travel problems by planning ahead.
- Have maintenance service on your vehicle as recommended.
- Check the antifreeze level.
- Keep the gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Winter Weather Tips From the National Weather Service
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