Winter Preparedness Outdoors & in Vehicles
Begin preparing now for extreme cold, snow and ice. The Batavia Fire Department encourages you to take a few minutes to put together your home and vehicle emergency supply kits and review the steps you should take to stay safe during hazardous winter weather.
From 2008-2018, there were 788 fatalities related to cold temperatures in Illinois, which is more than heat (227), tornadoes (23), floods (38) and severe storms/lightning (17) combined. In the United States, about 700 deaths occur each year from hypothermia.
There are several dangerous health conditions that can occur specifically in winter weather. Hypothermia, when body temperature drops below 95 degrees, can occur both outdoors and indoors and can be fatal. Frostbite occurs when your extremities are exposed to cold weather. The skin may become stiff and numb leading to severe tissue damage. Also, watch for symptoms of chest pain when shoveling snow which can be associated with overexertion.
No matter how low the temperature dips, many workers will face the frigid elements to do their jobs. Caution and self-awareness are the keys to cold weather safety. Workers should know the signs of hypothermia, not push their bodies to an extreme, layer clothing and make sure they have plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
At home, make sure you have enough essential items to ride out a storm, or if you are without power, for at least three days. Make sure you have blankets, non-perishable food, boots, extra clothing, and other items in your car in case you are stranded or waiting for a tow.
If you do become stranded in your car, pull as far off the road as possible and set your hazard lights to flashing. Hang or tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your antenna, window or door. After the snow stops falling, raise the hood to indicate trouble. If you have a cell phone, call for help. Stay in your vehicle, where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter. Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow, and then run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. Turn on the dome light at night when running the engine. When the engine is running, open a window slightly for ventilation. Periodically clear away snow from the exhaust pipe. In extreme cold, or if you don't have a winter storm survival kit, use road maps, seat covers and floor mats for insulation. One person should be awake at all times to watch for rescue crews. Be careful not to deplete battery power.