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Extreme Cold Weather Safety Tips for Washtenaw County

Flickr/ Creative Commons/Brixton

Sub-zero temperatures and  frigid wind chills have once again forced many schools to close throughout the region. The record cold temperatures may cause many in the WEMU listening area to develop cold-weather injuries like frostbite and hypothermia.

For road conditions and frequent weather updates, stay tuned to 89.1 WEMUfor the latest developments.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted its tips on how to be "prepared to stay safe and healthy in winter." For instance, if you have to go outside be sure to do what mom always said:


"Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots."

We simply suggest: Stay inside if you can.

Cold weather safety tips include: 

  • Minimize travel and stay off the roads if possible. If travel is necessary, keep a full tank of gas and an emergency preparedness kit in the vehicle. Ensure to pack thermal blankets, extra winter clothes, basic tool kit, (including a good knife and jumper cables), an ice scraper and shovel, flashlights or battery-powered lanterns with extra batteries, and high calorie, nonperishable food, and water.
  • Use sand or kitty litter under your tires for extra traction, especially if you find yourself stuck in a slippery spot.
  • Stay indoors if possible. If you must go outside, weather protective gear such as a hat and gloves should be worn.
  • Dress in layers and keep dry to avoid frostbite. Removing clothing if it gets damp or wet. Wet clothing makes you more prone to hypothermia. 
  • Watching for signs of frostbite, which include loss of feeling or pale appearance of fingers, toes or face. 
  • Checking on family, friends and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance. 
  • Watching pets closely and keeping them indoors when possible. If outside, have a warm shelter area with unfrozen water. 
  • To avoid frozen pipes, keep water running at a trickle. Open cabinet doors to sinks to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water lines in your garage.
  • Keep thermostats at the same temperature, day and night.
  • Never use a stove or oven to heat a home.
  • Space heaters should be placed on a hard, level surface at least three feet away from anything flammable. Turn them off before going to bed.
  • Use a glass or metal screen with a fireplace to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Never use a generator inside a home, including in the basement or the garage.

Michigan residents who need assistance or guidance are encouraged to call 211. For more information about being prepared before, during and after an emergency or disaster, go to the Michigan State Police emergency preparedness website at www.michigan.gov/beprepared

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Patrik is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and functions as the New Media/Social Media manager for 89.1 WEMU.