How To Stay Safe During Winter Cold Snaps
The best way to stay warm is to stay inside, but with the added use of multiple heat sources in the home, there are many safety tips to keep in mind.
“When you are using the space heaters, you want to make sure that you are plugging them directly into the outlet and not putting them on an extension cord or a six-way power outlet,” said Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes. “You want to make sure you are plugging them directly into the wall.”
Having an up-to-date space heater with an automatic shut-off function is also recommended.
“Make sure you have good clearances around the space heater so nothing is touching it and the kids aren’t playing by it,” Chief Holmes said.
Fireplaces also can lead to a house fire if not properly taken care of.
“Make sure you are cleaning them, having a professional cleaning and inspecting them on a regular basis and make sure you are using good seasoned dry wood because it creates less build up in the chimney,” Chief Holmes said.
If you do have to go outside, be sure to bundle up and bring extra layers just in case of an emergency.
“The most likely places to encounter frostbite are on your toes, fingers, ears and your nose,” said Kevin Lee, North Memorial Brainerd Region Manager.
Start by making sure all of those high-risk areas are covered well.
“Once it starts getting below zero, if there is any wind at all you could start getting frostbite in less than half an hour,” Lee said.
And colder temperatures mean quicker frostbite.
“Once the wind chill gets down to 40 or 50 below, which it can be on these 20 below nights, you can get frostbite in five minutes,” Lee said.
Similar to a burn, frostbite damages the skin tissue and should be treated by soaking it in warm water.
“If after soaking it for 15-30 minutes and the circulation doesn’t return back to normal, then you need to seek medical attention,” Lee said.
The key to staying safe inside and outside is all about being prepared, whether that means simply checking your smoke alarms are working or packing some extra layers before leaving home.