Very cold man in the winter

As temperatures drop, start preparing

As we ring in the New Year, temperatures in the Upstate will drop as low as 15 degrees. While you are planning your resolutions, make plans to keep yourself and your family warm and safe.

When temperatures drop, what do people need to know?

Temperatures drop quickly, and it is crucial to prepare for extreme weather.  This includes having a three-day supply of rations and plenty of warm clothing. 

What risks are associated with the cold?

Cold emergencies can lead to frostbite and hypothermia. Our bodies are designed to regulate temperatures within a few degrees, but extreme cold can be dangerous and potentially deadly. 

What is the most common problems EMS sees when the temperatures drop?

It is human instinct to want to warm up by the fire in cold weather. The most common problem we are faced with is when there is no heat source to warm up with. This could be from power failures in the home, a stranded motorist or the homeless. 

When using space heaters, make sure they have auto shut offs and are positioned at least three feet away from furniture. If space heaters are too close to furniture, blankets or other items, there is a danger of a fire starting.

Make sure that you prepare your car as well. Winterizing and having plenty of blankets, water or snacks in case of a breakdown is important. Last, learn where and how to turn off the water line to your house in case of a burst pipe. 

When snow is in the forecast, people flock to the grocery stores in a panic. What safety measures do people need to take in that pre-snow chaos?

Besides the milk and bread, it is important to have enough rations to sustain yourself and family for at least three days. This should include shelf-stable items such as bottled water, peanut butter and energy bars. In addition, having ample blankets, warm jackets, hand and head coverings are a must. Keep as much skin covered as you can. Ensuring that you have enough fuel to power your heating source is important as well.   

What are the symptoms of hypothermia?

The symptoms are shivering, slurred speech, drowsiness and loss of coordination.

If you have an emergency, please call 911.