By: Catrina Leone
It is no secret that the weather can turn wicked fast here in Cleveland! TV20 wants to make sure we provide you all with tips to beat the heat, face the freeze and even tackle that Tornado (if one happens to twirl our way) I will be focusing today on tips to beat the extreme cold, since it is the dead of winter! When temperatures drop to the teens, zero and below, frost bite and hypothermia become a higher risk. I got you covered on what to do to avoid those two deadly situations, along with tips for a safer commute.
Snow bans/snow emergencies: When snowfall reaches at least one half-inch, the Division of streets begins plowing and salting main roads. Local public officials can declare snow emergencies. The levels are: Category 1– Use caution. Category 2– Hazardous roads, necessary travel only. Category 3– Emergency vehicles only travel advisory strictly enforced. To find out if Cleveland is under a snow ban/snow emergency you can call 216-664-2510 or visit www.city.cleveland.oh.us
Some additional tips for motorists in our area: Obey parking regulations on streets with “Snow Ban” signs, Slow down, slick pavement reduces traction and can mean loss of control, increase following distance, use headlights and wear seatbelts, pump breaks to stop gradually or apply anti-lock breaks steadily, stay at least 50 feet away from snow clearing equipment, allow for snow removal equipment’s wide turns, pay attention to weather advisories/leave earlier than normal & avoid isolated areas during a storm.
**It is important to also note that Cleveland Water does not provide assistance with frozen customer plumbing. For broken water meters you could call: 216-664-3060.
Rec centers in our area kindly opened up their doors for 24 hours last week to the people who do not have shelter when the weather turns wicked. Those three recreational centers that have 24/7 access are; Sterling Recreation Center, 1380 East 32nd Street; Fairfax Recreation Center, 2335 East 82nd Street and Michael Zone Recreation Center, 6301 Lorain Avenue. In addition, there are 18 other recreational centers that can be utilized as warming centers when the extreme cold hits. Here is a list of those places:
Alexander Hamilton, 13200 Kinsman Ave.
Central, 2526 Central Ave.
Clark Rec, 5706 Clark Ave.
Collinwood, 16300 Lake Shore Blvd.
Cory, 10510 Drexel Ave.
Cudell Fine Arts, 10013 Detroit Ave.
Cudell Rec, 1910 West Blvd.
Earle B. Turner, 11300 Miles Ave.
Glenville, 680 East 113th St.
Gunning, 16700 Puritas Ave.
HalloranPark, 3550 West 117th St.
Kenneth L. Johnson, 9206 Woodland Ave.
John F. Kennedy, 17300 Harvard Ave.
E.J. Kovacic, 6250 St. Clair Ave.
Lonnie Burten, 2511 East 46th St.
Stella Walsh, 7345 Broadway Ave.
Thurgood Marshall, 8611 Hough Ave.
Zelma George, 3155 MLK Blvd.
Brought on by extreme temperature, hypothermia can cause life-threatening emergencies if not treated immediately. Older adults, especially those who are ill, very old, or frail are more vulnerable than younger people. When outside, wear layers of warm clothing, including a hat and scarf to prevent heat loss through your head. Eat nutrition based foods, exercise moderately, get enough sleep, drink enough fluids, and use extra blankets at bedtime.
There are ways to plan ahead for these bitterly cold temps. You can put together a survival kit for your home. The kit should include food that does not need to be cooked or refrigerated, water stored in clean containers and any medicine you or a family member may need. Candles are also very important to have in bulk, along with flashlights and batteries. Your car should have the following: a supply of blankets, a first aid kit, a windshield scraper, and booster cables.
An important thing to note as well is to keep your home thermostat at the same temperature. This will keep your pipes from bursting. Please make sure to bring any pets indoors, they need just as much care and attention in the extreme cold as the rest of us. Make sure to also wipe your pet’s paws of salt, as this could be dangerous for them. Antifreeze is a dangerous chemical for pets and children as well. As quick and easy as it might be, do not use a stove or oven to heat your home and to protect your water pipes, run water at a trickle and open kitchen/bathroom cabinets to allow warm air to be around the plumbing.
Now, I will get in to more depth on what frost bite and hypothermia are and ways to prevent them this winter. Symptoms of hypothermia include: a change in mental status, uncontrollable shivering, cool abdomen and a low core body temperature. Severe cases may produce rigid muscles, dark and puffy skin, irregular heart and respiratory rates, and even unconsciousness. It is in your best interest to avoid becoming wet, as wet clothing loses 90 percent of its insulating value. Cover every extremity of your body, including your face!
Frostbite is another deadly condition due to the extreme cold. Superficial frostbite is characterized by white, waxy, or grayish-yellow patches on the affected areas. The skin feels cold and numb. To treat superficial frostbite, take the victim inside ASAP. Place dry, sterile gauze between toes and fingers to absorb moisture and to keep them from sticking together. If you are more than one hour from a medical facility and you have warm water, place the frost-bitten part in water.
Back to the great fashions of winter is a fact that will help you by looking good and feeling good: WEAR WOOL. Unlike many fabrics, wool will keep you warm even when the fabric is wet. Wool socks (so cozy) will especially keep your feet warm even with wet boots/shoes.
Here is what not to do with a person who has frost bite or hypothermia: Do not serve hot beverages, do not place the person in hot water, do not use a heating pad and do not put them in a sauna. These actions can cause thermal shock, even death. On a side note, a good way to prevent frozen pipes would be to caulk cracks and holes in outside walls/foundations near water pipes. Letting a faucet drip during extreme cold weather can prevent a pipe from bursting.
Lastly, stay tuned to TV20 for more updates on this and the other stories happening in our area. Break out those fur boots, fur coats and ski masks; STAY WARM CLEVELAND!