Cold Weather Safety Tips

With the historic cold weather hitting Illinois' this week, it is important to understand the real risks associated with winter storms and freezing temperatures. These conditions can be life threatening, with older adults, young children, and sick individuals being at a greater risk. Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind to stay safe during these dangerous winter conditions.

-Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, then wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

-Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers, and toes. Signs include numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin. Actions: Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water. Use body heat to warm. Do not massage or use a heating pad.

-Hypothermia is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency. Signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, or drowsiness. Actions: Go to a warm room. Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin. Keep dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the head and neck.

-Prepare for power outages. Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.



-Use generators outside only and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.

-Check on neighbors. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.

-Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.

-Create an emergency supply kit for your car. Include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. Keep the gas tank full.
Learn the signs of, and basic treatments for, frostbite and hypothermia.

-Reduce the risk of a heart attack. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.

For more information on winter safety click here, and for the State of Illinois' Winter Storm Preparedness Guide click here. 

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