Each year, Maine typically experiences a cold snap which can be dangerous if you are not prepared. Here are eight safety tips to keep you safe.
- Prepare ahead if you can. Go grocery shopping, and check your primary heating source (oil, propane, or wood pile).
- Follow instructions for alternate heating sources and shut off if recommended before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Stay indoors as much as possible. Seek shelter locally at designated shelters and warming centers.
- Create a safety emergency kit for your vehicle just in case.
- When you need to be outdoors, dress in layers and avoid prolonged skin exposure.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol consumption or other medications that may keep you from realizing that your body is cold.
- Check on children, older adults, and your pets.
- Know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite: confusion, shivering, difficulty speaking, sleepiness, stiffness, loss of sensation in your hands and feet.
If you or someone you know is starting to experience hypothermia or early signs of frostbite, move inside to a warm area or local shelter. When in doubt, seek medical attention. The Emergency Department at St. Joseph Healthcare is open 24 hours a day.