How To Stay Safe In The Elements

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- While West Michigan will see a lot of snow with the latest storm moving in there will also be wind chills below zero which can become dangerous in a matter of minutes.

The Mayo Clinic is offering some tips to stay safe:

  • Limit time you’re outdoors in cold, wet or windy weather. Pay attention to weather forecasts and wind chill readings. In very cold, windy weather, exposed skin can develop frostbite in a matter of minutes.
  • Dress in several layers of loose, warm clothing rather than a single layer. Air trapped between the layers of clothing acts as insulation against the cold. Wear windproof and waterproof outer garments to protect against wind, snow and rain. Choose undergarments that wick moisture away from your skin.
  • Wear a hat that fully covers your ears. Heavy woolen or windproof materials make the best headwear for cold protection.
  • Wear mittens rather than gloves, which provide better protection.
  • Watch for signals of frostbite. Early signs of frostbite include redness, prickling and numbness.
  • Plan to protect yourself. When traveling in cold weather, carry emergency supplies and warm clothing in case you become stranded.
  • Don’t drink alcohol if you plan to be outdoors in cold weather. Alcoholic beverages cause your body to lose heat faster. Eating well-balanced meals and drinking warm, sweet drinks, such as hot chocolate, will help you stay warmer.

The Michigan State Police are also making sure you are staying safe and warm as the storm moves in. Here are some of the tips they are offering:

  • Stay indoors if possible. If you must go outside, wear protective gear-such as hats, mittens and gloves-in addition to a warm coat. Always protect your lungs with a scarf.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite, which include loss of feeling or pale appearance of fingers, toes or face.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia, which include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, drowsiness and exhaustion.
  • Understand the hazards of wind chill. As wind speed increases, heat is carried away from a person’s body more rapidly and could lead to severe hypothermia.
  • Remove clothing if it gets damp or wet. Wet clothing can make you more prone to hypothermia.
  • Weather-proof doors and windows to trap heat inside your home.
  • Check heating units. Poorly operating or damaged heating units can release carbon monoxide gas. Test carbon monoxide detectors for proper operation and battery life.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance.
  • Watch pets closely and keep them indoors when possible. Animals can suffer from hypothermia, frostbite and other cold weather injuries.
  • Check and restock your emergency preparedness kit. If you don’t have a kit, make one.
  • Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a full tank of gas and an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle. Put warm clothing-such as gloves, blankets and hats-in your kit in case you become stranded.

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