By Bobby Hamil, Chief of Police, Clayton State University
The National Weather Service has issued wind chill advisories due to the forecast of unusually cold temperatures for the Atlanta metro area through mid-day on Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to plummet later today and wind chills can reach negative degrees in some areas. To ensure you are prepared for these extreme temperatures, here are some safety tips:
- Closely monitor local news reports as well as the ClaytonStateUniversity website for updates on weather forecasts and school or workplace closings.
- Make sure you have a well-stocked Winter Home Emergency Supply Kit that includes flashlights, portable radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food and a manual can opener.
- Be careful driving on any roadways where moisture is present, as it could be ice.
- Minimize outside activities, particularly the elderly and very young and remember to consider your pets.
- Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, rather than a single layer of heavy clothing. Wear a hat, mittens and sturdy waterproof boots, protecting your extremities. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Hypothermia can occur in extreme cases. The warning signs are uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If these symptoms occur, seek immediate medical care.
- When utilizing alternate heating sources, such as your fireplace, wood stove or space heater, take the necessary safety precautions. Keep a fire extinguisher handy; ensuring everyone knows how to use it properly. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- If utilizing an emergency generator, read, understand and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Always operate emergency generators outdoors and away from any open window.
- Never use propane or charcoal grills indoors or in poorly ventilated areas as they pose carbon monoxide and fire risks.
- To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Allow a trickle of warm water to run from a faucet that is farthest from your water meter or one that has frozen in the past. This will keep the water moving so that it cannot freeze. Learn how to shut off your water if a pipe bursts.
- Make sure your car is properly winterized. Keep the gas tank at least half-full. Carry a Winter Emergency Car Kit in the trunk including blankets, flashlight with spare batteries, windshields scraper, and jumper cables.
- Be a good neighbor. Check with elderly or relatives and friends who may need additional assistance to ensure their safety.