Winter Seasonal Safety Tips

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Winter Safety Tips

With the colder months of the year now upon us, the Cohasset Police Department has a few safety tips for you and your family to keep in mind.

THIN ICE

Children and adults are attracted to either ice on the Reservoir or out on Lily Pond during the winter months. It is fun to walk on, run and slide across and to go skating on. Unfortunately, the risks are underestimated. If you see someone who has fallen through the ice, DO NOT WALK out to them, you may become another victim. Instead try to reach them with a tree branch, rope, or shovel, anything that you can place between you and the victim and have them grab onto it. Then as quickly as you can get help!

POWER LINES DOWNED

Another common winter hazard is power lines being downed due to ice storms or high winds. Wires should always be considered LIVE AND DANGEROUS and must be avoided. Please notify the Fire Department and electric company immediately, and it will be handled from there.

HYPOTHERMIA

Winter not only brings snow, but also cold weather. Remember to dress appropriately, bundle up, but dont overdue it. If you are going to be indoors, open up your coat to avoid overheating yourself. Hypothermia or low body temperature can be very serious. Warning signs include uncontrolled shivering, memory loss, disorientation, slurred speech, and apparent exhaustion. If you can, take the persons temperature. If it is below 95 degrees F, immediately seek medical attention. Do not try to warm the person up too fast. Remove wet clothing, and wrap warm blankets between legs and under arms to start. Do not try to give any type of alcohol, coffee, or drugs. Cold weather can present a lot of problems. With a little planning, preparedness, and some common sense, we can all avoid many of these problems and try to enjoy the winter cold season.

SNOW SHOVELING

If you have to shovel your walks, try not to over do it. If you feel yourself getting tired and weak, its time to go inside and take a break. The snow will still be there when you get back!

WINTER TRAVEL

During the winter months, your car may decide to become stubborn and break down. In which case, it is always wise to have the following items in your car. A car phone, flashlight, first-aid supplies, extra clothes/blanket, cat litter or sand in case your car gets stuck, and jumper cables.
BE PREPARED BEFORE THE STORM STRIKES

Plan your travel and check the latest weather reports to avoid the storm!

Have your vehicle fully checked and winterized before the winter season begins

Carry a WINTER STORM SURVIVAL KIT

Blankets/sleeping bags
Flashlight with extra batteries
First-aid kit
Knife
high-calorie non perishable food
Extra clothing to keep dry
Bag of sand or kitty litter
Shovel
Windshield scraper and brush
Compass and road maps
Booster cables

If you own a car phone, remember your can use it to call for help!

WHEN CAUGHT IN A WINTER STORM

Stay in your car or truck
Disorientation occurs quickly in wind-driven snow and cold
Run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat
Open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked
Make yourself visible to rescuers
Turn on the dome light at night when running the engine
Tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your antenna or door
Raise the hood indicating trouble after snow stops falling
Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers, and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm

CHECKING ON A NEIGHBOR

It is also a nice gesture to check on the elderly person living next door during the winter and summer months. Just to make sure they have everything and they are not in any kind of difficulty. Just knowing someone is out there -Helps.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Be sure all decorative lights, indoor and outdoor bear the label of an independent testing laboratory. Replace any light sets that have cracked or frayed cords or have loose connections. Do not overload outlets or run extension cords under carpets, across doorways, on or under heaters, or behind furniture. Unplug all decorative lights before leaving home or going to bed.

FIREPLACES

Keep fire where it belongs - in the fireplace! Make sure you have a screen large enough to catch flying sparks and rolling logs. Clean your chimney regularly - creosote build-up can ignite your chimney, roof and the whole house! Have your chimney inspected annually for damage and obstructions. Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container. Cardboard boxes and paper bags can quickly catch fire. Only burn materials appropriate for a fireplace, never burn trash or paper, burning paper can float up a chimney and onto your roof or into your yard.

FURNACES

Furnaces should have regular maintenance to operate properly. Annual cleaning, and inspection are recommended. As mentioned before, have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually. Make sure to clear any exhaust vents on your home to prevent carbon monoxide fumes from backing up in to your home. Donât use the oven for heating!

CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS

Make sure your home has a carbon monoxide detector. If your home already has a carbon monoxide detector, make sure the batteries are fresh.

ELECTRIC SPACE HEATERS

Space heaters need their space! Keep combustibles at least three feet away from each heater. When buying a heater, look for a thermostat control mechanism and a switch that automatically shuts off the power if the heater falls over. Heaters are not dryers or tables! Dont dry or store objects on top of your heater.

CANDLES

Always put candles in non-tip candleholders before you light them, and do not burn candles near decorations or displays. Keep candles well away from curtains, and never put candles in windows or near exits. Never leave a room with a candle burning or within reach of small children.

WINTER STORMS The Deceptive Killers

Every year winter storms and below zero temperatures give rise to weather-related emergencies. Winter storms are considered deceptive killers because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Everyone is potentially at risk, however the actual threat to you depends on your specific situation. Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia. The cold weather can present serious problems. A little careful planning, preparedness and common sense can help prevent many of these problems and make your winter a lot safer.

STORMS WITH STRONG WINDS

Sometimes winter storms are accompanied by strong winds creating blizzard conditions with blinding wind-driven snow, severe drifting, and dangerous wind chill. Strong winds and ice storms can knock down trees, utility poles, and power lines. Communications and power can be disrupted for days while utility companies work to repair the extensive damage. Even small accumulations of ice may cause extreme hazards to motorists and pedestrians.

HEAVY SNOW STORMS

Heavy snow can immobilize a region and paralyze a city, stranding commuters, stopping the flow of supplies, and disrupting emergency and medical services. Accumulations of snow can collapse buildings and knock down trees and power lines. The cost of snow removal, repairing damages and loss of business can have large economic impacts on cities and towns.

SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN

Rain drops that freeze into ice pellets before reaching the ground constitute sleet. Sleet usually bounces when hitting a surface and does not stock to objects. However, it can accumulate like snow and cause a hazard to motorists. Rain that falls onto a surface with a temperature below freezing causes it to freeze to surfaces, such as tires, cars and roads, forming a coating or glaze of ice. Even small accumulations of ice can cause a significant hazard.

EXTREME COLD

Extreme cold often accompanies a winter storm or is left in its wake. Prolonged exposure to the cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia and become life-threatening. Infants and elderly people are most susceptible. Pipes may freeze and burst in homes that are poorly insulated or without heat. If your pipes freeze this winter, DO NOT use a propane torch to thaw them out! You could set your home on fire by accident! Thaw them out slowly, a hand held hair dryer works best.

WIND CHILL

Wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by combined effects of wind and cold. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature. Be aware that animals are also affected by wind chill.

FROSTBITE

Frostbite is damage to body tissue caused by that tissue being frozen. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, or the tip of your nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately! If you must wait for help, slowly rewarm affected areas. If the person is showing sings of hypothermia, however, warm the body core before the extremities.

HYPOTHERMIA: LOW BODY TEMPERATURE

Warning signs - uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.

Detection - Take the persons temperature. If below 95 degrees, immediately seek medical care (Call 911).

If medical care is not available, begin warming the person slowly. Warm the body core first. If needed use your own body heat to help. Get the person into dry clothing, and wrap them in a warm blanket covering the head and neck. Do not give the person alcohol, drugs, coffee, or any HOT beverage or food; warm broth is better. Do not warm extremities (arms and legs) first! This drives the cold blood toward the heart and can lead to heart failure.

DRESS TO FIT THE SEASON

Wear loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothing in several layers. Trapped air insulates. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent, and hooded. Wear a hat. Half your body heat loss can be from the head. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold. Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves. Try to stay dry.

THREE DAYS SUPPLY

Keep three days supply of non perishable foods, water, and medications on hand in case a winter storm strikes. You may not be able get to the store or a pharmacy in severe weather conditions.

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Cohasset, Massachusetts