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Red Cross issues cold weather safety tips

Life-threatening lows expected in Iowa and Minnesota.

Posted: Jan 28, 2019 1:00 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa – With life-threatening low temperatures expected, the American Red Cross is issuing a set of cold weather safety tips.

“Forecasters predict this will be Iowa’s coldest snap in more than 20 years. The extreme cold can be life-threatening as temperatures could dip between -10 and -30 degrees,” says Leslie Schaffer, Executive Director of the Iowa Red Cross Region. “We at the Red Cross want to make sure everyone knows how to prepare and safely ride out these winter conditions.”

The Red Cross’ top cold weather safety tips are:

1. Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.

2. Know the signs of hypothermia - confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. If someone has these symptoms, they should get immediate medical attention.

3. Watch for symptoms of frostbite including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy feeling skin.

4. Bring the pets indoors. If that’s not possible, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.

5. Avoid frozen pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.

6. Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home.

7. Space heaters should sit on a level, hard surface and anything flammable should be kept at least three feet away.

8. If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

9. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

You can download the free Red Cross First Aid App here to learn how to handle cold weather emergencies. More Red Cross info on winter safety is available here.

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