WI Emergency Management Warns: It's Too Cold to be Outdoors

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

The below freezing temperatures affecting Wisconsin are dangerously cold.

Being exposed for too long is a recipe for frostbite or hypothermia, but if you must be outside there are some things to keep in mind.

Tod Pritchard, of Wisconsin Emergency Management says everyone should try to stay indoors, but at the very least limit your time out in the cold.

Just running from your house to your car is enough to feel the effects of this cold snap. That's why it's recommended to bundle up in layers, and don't forget a hat, gloves and boots.

With wind chills several degrees below zero, Pritchard says spending just 10 minutes outside is enough to bring on frost bite. Spending a few minutes more and you're in danger of getting hypothermia.

"We're really concerned about seniors, especially if you already have some preexisting conditions this cold weather on top of it and then any physically exerting activities you're doing can really add up to trouble," he said.

Hypothermia is when your body temperature drops to 95 degrees or lower. Signs include: disorientation, slurred speech, and uncontrollable shivering.

If someone seems to have hypothermia, it's best to get them inside where they can warm up gradually. In many cases, medical attention is necessary.

Another warming from WI Emergency Management is to make sure you have a winter survival kit in your vehicle.

Items like a blanket, warm clothes, water, snacks and a cell phone may mean the difference between life or death if you become stranded in sub-zero temperatures.

"You need to make sure you have the gear necessary to survive until help arrives and in some cases that may take awhile," Pritchard said.

You should also keep your vehicle's gas tank at least half full, and let it run before driving for about 15 minutes.

Because the elderly are most susceptible to freezing temperatures, it's a good idea to check on relatives and neighbors to make sure they are okay.

There has already been one report of a woman who was found dead outside of her car on Saturday. The cold weather is believed to be a factor.

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