Ralph Dishong is the Disaster Program Specialist with the American Red Cross of Northwest Missouri.
If you have to venture outside this weekend, Dishong said to make sure you keep warm and avoid skin exposure to the cold.
“Your skin can freeze in a matter of seconds sometimes in the sub zero weather so make sure you wear gloves, facemask, keep covered,” Dishong said. “It’s important to wear light but layered outerwear… it’ll trap air and keep you warmer than one heavy coat.”
Dishong said if you are traveling, to make sure and have an emergency kit in your car which can include flares and extra blankets in case your car breaks down.
“Make sure your cell phone is charged, in the emergency kit you want to have things in there like flashers, something to draw attention,” Dishong said. “One of the best safety tips if you get stranded is to not leave your car. Stay in your car, keep warm, if you do need to start your car to run it for heat, you do need to leave a little bit of ventilation for air to come in. Let somebody know where you’re at if you can call out.”
Dishong said to also be careful with alternative heating sources in your house such as space heaters. It’s important to make sure nothing is near them that can catch fire.
For information on signs of frostbite and hypothermia and what to do, click here.
During cold weather, it’s also important to check on more vulnerable family and friends including the elderly and to not leave pets outdoors for long periods of time.