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Keyword: cold weather safety

By Della Leister, R.N.
Deputy Health Officer

Maryland has been hit by some pretty frigid temperatures this winter. They’ve often been followed by warming trends that leave many of us longing for an early spring. But we must be mindful that there is still quite a bit of winter left to go. These reminders will help you be prepared for whatever comes our way while we anxiously await a spring thaw.

Avoid prolonged exposure to the weather. Dress warmly and in layers; stay dry; and don’t forget about Fido! Make sure all of your pets are protected from the extreme weather.

Don’t overdo the shoveling

Anyone diagnosed with heart disease or chronic lung disease should not shovel snow. Shoveling is manual labor and it’s hard on the heart muscles and can cause a cardiac event. Ask a friend, neighbor or relative, or hire someone to clear your sidewalk and driveway.

Be careful of downed power lines. The added weight from snow and ice often result in downed power lines. Remember that downed lines can still be live lines and are extremely dangerous. Call your local utility company immediately to report downed lines.

Stay safe if the power goes out. Winter ice and winds can cause power outages. When this happens some of us turn to generators to keep warm. Generators produce the deadly gas, carbon monoxide (CO). Be sure to keep your generator at least 15 feet from the house or building and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully. For those who have gas stoves and ovens, never use an oven to heat your home.

Make sure your car is winter travel ready. This includes the vehicles exterior (tires, wipers, mirrors) and interior (heat, radio, defrost). Also, keep a winter kit in the car for unforeseen emergencies.

Weatherproof your home against the cold. While caulking and weather-stripping windows and doors is best done before winter winds begin to blow, it is never too late to add them. Cold air seeps in through even the tiniest of cracks. Caulking and weather-stripping are like adding warm blankets to windows and doors.

Click on the link below for a handy graphic with more information to help you be winter-weather ready!

https://www.cdc.gov/phpr/documents/BeReady_Winter.pdf


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017