Ed Day, Rockland County Executive
January 21, 2016
Contact: Scott Salotto (845) 638-5645
Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, DO, MPH, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512
HEALTH DEPARTMENT OFFERS COLD WEATHER SAFETY TIPS
NEW CITY, NY - - With snow and wind in the forecast, Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert advise County residents to take common sense steps to stay safe and warm:
- Dress warmly in windproof clothing and go indoors when you begin to feel cold. Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing to trap body heat. Fasten buttons or zippers and tighten drawstrings securely. Don't forget gloves, mittens and a hat that covers the ears.
- Even healthy adults should remember that their bodies already are working overtime just to stay warm, and should dress appropriately and work slowly when doing heavy outdoor chores.
- If you have cardiac problems or high blood pressure, follow your doctor's orders about shoveling or performing any strenuous exercise outside.
- Keep in mind that alcoholic beverages cause the body to lose heat more rapidly.
- If you will be spending time outside, do not ignore shivering - it is an important first sign that the body is losing heat and a signal to quickly return indoors.
- Older adults are especially susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite. People who have older relatives or neighbors should keep an eye on them during the cold, winter months.
- Stock your car with a seasonal emergency kit, including: blankets to keep warm; non-perishable foods and fresh water; a first aid kit; cat litter or sand in case you need traction; jumper cables, flares and a tire pump; maps and a compass, and a stash of plastic bags; and a battery-powered radio, flashlight and an extra supply of batteries.
- The World Health Organization recommends keeping indoor temperatures between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit for healthy people. The minimum temperature should be kept above 68 degrees Fahrenheit to protect the very young, the elderly, or people with health problems.
- If you need to use an alternate heating source such as a fireplace or wood stove, be sure to have adequate ventilation to the outside. Without enough fresh air, carbon monoxide fumes can build up in your home and cause sickness or even death. Keep children away from all heaters to avoid accidental burns. Never use a stove or fireplace unless it is properly installed and vented.
- Never use a natural gas or propane stove/oven to heat your home.
If you lose power:
- If you are using your car radio, do not run your car in a closed or open garage.
- Never use a generator inside your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Operate portable generators outdoors and downwind of buildings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a distance of at least 25 feet from the house. Carbon monoxide in the generator's fumes can build up and cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which can lead to death. Keep children away from generators at all times.
- Never use a charcoal grill or a barbecue grill in your home or garage.
- Never start up or run any gasoline-powered engines (such as snow blowers and generators) in enclosed spaces.
If you are in need of a warm place, call or check your town/village website or visit www.rocklandgov.com for a list of warming centers. Residents with heat-related problems may contact the Health Department at (845) 364-2585.
Visit www.health.ny.gov/environmental/emergency/weather/cold/ and www.ready.gov/winter-weather for more information.