Stay Safe and Healthy During Extreme Cold

Oneida County Health Department Advises Cold Weather, Winter Storm Prevention Tips

Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous. Plan ahead by preparing your home and cars, prepare for power outages and dress warmly if outdoor activity is necessary. Check on older adults as well.

“As extremely cold temperatures continue to grip our region, we should all take the proper precautions to remain healthy and safe,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr.

Here are some things to consider during extremely cold weather:

Prepare your home:

  • Have your heating system serviced to make sure it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.
  • Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
  • Install smoke detectors. Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
  • Have a safe alternative heating source and alternative fuels available.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide emergences- install a carbon monoxide detector to alert you of the presence of deadly, odorless, colorless gas; Test the batteries and replace as needed.
  • Be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

Below zero temperatures can make staying warm a challenge. Take the following safety precautions if you need to be outdoors:

  • Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: tightly-woven, wind-resistant coat or jacket; layers of clothing under the jacket; hats; scarves and waterproof boots.
  • Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches on driveways, sidewalks and steps.
  • Move slowly to avoid falling when doing outside chores.
  • Carry a cell phone in case of an emergency.

It is important to make sure your car is ready for the cold weather:

  • Keep your gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
  • Prepare and store an emergency kit in your car in case you become stranded. The kit should include:
    • Cell phone and portable charger
    • Extra batteries
    • Blankets
    • Food and water
    • Booster cables, flares, tire pump and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction)
    • Flashlight
    • Battery-powered radio
    • First Aid Kit

Be aware of current and expected weather forecasts so you can be prepared. Avoid unnecessary travel when the weather service issues advisories, and if you must travel, make sure you notify a friend or family member where you will be.

“Extreme cold temperatures pose hazards to us all, but especially to young children, older adults and people with chronic illnesses,” said Oneida County Commissioner of Health Phyllis Ellis. “Be sure to check on family and friends, and if you have pets, bring them inside.”

For more information on winter weather safety: https://www.cdc.gov/features/winterweather/index.html