Thursday, February 12, 2015
Dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills are expected to impact our region during the upcoming holiday weekend.
Atlantic County officials remind citizens to take the necessary precautions to prevent hypothermia and frostbite and other serious or life-threatening health problems that may result from exposure to cold temperatures. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but anyone can be affected.
Emergency officials note that snow accumulation is not the primary concern for our area with this storm system, but rather the affect of single-digit lows, strong winds and sub-zero wind chills.
Residents are urged to have sufficient fuel to properly heat homes, protect pipes from freezing by insulating them and letting faucets drip, have emergency supplies on hand in the event of power outages, and limit time outdoors.
Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure that can permanently damage its victims. Symptoms may include a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, nose or ear lobes.
Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops to less than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness and exhaustion.
If you suspect frostbite or hypothermia seek immediate medical assistance. Slowly begin warming the body starting at the trunk. Arms and legs should be warmed last because stimulation of the limbs can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure. Make sure clothing is dry and wrap body in a blanket.
Never give a frostbite or hypothermia victim anything with caffeine or alcohol. Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause the heart to beat faster and hasten the effect of the cold on the body. Alcohol is a depressant that can slow the heart and also hasten the ill effects of cold body temperatures.
Anyone who experiences a life-threatening emergency should call 9-1-1 immediately. Otherwise call your local office of emergency management for assistance with non life-threatening emergencies. Contact numbers are available at: www.readyatlantic.org/mainpages/localoems.asp and in the blue pages of your phone book.
Pets also feel the affect of cold temperatures and should be brought indoors or provided with adequate shelter to keep them warm with access to unfrozen water.
For more information, visit www.ReadyAtlantic.org, Atlantic County’s emergency information and resource web site.