Posted: Saturday, January 4th 2014 at 2:01pm
Red Cross cold weather tips
By Ken Stanford Staff
GAINESVILLE - From Minnesota to New England, millions of people are dealing with cold temperatures and below-zero wind chills as they dig out from the heavy snow that buried much of the country. Now, North Georgia is in the cross hairs of an Arctic blast expected to bring the region some of the coldest weather in years.
Some parts of the country are already experiencing low temperatures and winds that make it feel as if it is far below zero outside. With bitterly cold weather and the possibility of some snow in North Georgia early next week, the Red Cross chapter in Gainesville has issued a few "cold weather tips":
Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
After the storm, be extremely careful if you have to shovel snow. It is physically strenuous work, so take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia,including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
Watch for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
Dont forget your pets bring them indoors. If they cant come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
Avoid frozen pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
Download the American Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes orGoogle Play stores. See all Red Cross apps atredcross.org/mobileapps.
SPACE HEATERS, FIREPLACES AND GENERATORS
Heating systems are running at full force and many people are resorting to other sources to keep their homes warm. To avoid fire danger, you should remember the following:
Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
Use generators correctly never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
Dont hook a generator up to the homes wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross says the need for blood continues and the winter weather is already taking a toll on blood collections. More than 30 Red Cross blood drives across the country have already been cancelled, resulting in a shortfall of about 1,250 blood donations.
You can make an appointment to give blood online at redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
To give blood, you must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.
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