Red Cross offers life-saving winter weather tips

By WEEK Producer

Red Cross offers life-saving winter weather tips

January 22, 2014 Updated Jan 22, 2014 at 3:28 PM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Whether winter brings severe storms, light dustings, or just cold temperatures, the American Red Cross has outlined some tips on how to stay safe and avoid emergency situations this time of year.

If you are indoors: 

* Dress warmly in layers
* Conserve fuel
* Lower the thermostat to 65 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night. Close off unused rooms.
* If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags.
* Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate.)
* Listen to the radio or television to get the latest weather information.

If you are outdoors: 

* Dress warmly in loose-fitting, layered, light-weight clothing. Layers can be removed to prevent perspiration and chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens are warmer than gloves because fingers generate warmth when they touch each other.
* Stretch before you go out.
* If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. Also, take frequent break.
* Cover your mouth and protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
* Avoid overexertion. Cold air puts added strain on the heart. Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse. Be aware of symptoms of dehydration.
* Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
* Keep dry and change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
* Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance-- infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities.

For more winter weather tips, please visit http://arcillinois.org/tip-library.

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