Did you know that most deaths due to winter storms are indirectly related to the storm? People die of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. They also die in traffic accidents on icy roads.
You may be familiar with the terms frostbite and hypothermia, but it’s important to be familiar with the warning signs of each.
Frostbite is damaging to body tissue caused by that tissue being frozen. Frostbite causes loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately. If you must wait for help, slowly rewarm affected areas. However, if the person is also showing signs of hypothermia, warm the body core before the extremities.
The warning signs include:
• Uncontrollable shivering
• Memory loss
• Slurred speech
• Apparent exhaustion
If you notice any of the warning signs, start by taking the person’s temperature. If it’s below 95 F (35 C), immediately seek medical care. If medical care is not available, begin warming the person slowly. Warm the body core first. If needed, use your own body heat to help.
Get the person into dry clothing, wrap them in a warm blanket, covering the head and neck. Do not give the person any hot beverage or food; warm broth is best. Do not warm extremities first, as it can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure.
TIPS TO STAYING WARM
Wear a hat or wool stocking cap, because more than 50% of the body’s heat is lost through the head or neck area.
Keep your feet dry by wearing a thin pair of polypropylene socks underneath heavy wool socks. The wool socks will wick moisture away from your feet.
Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold. Also, mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves.
THE C.O.L.D. RULE
When dealing with winter survival, the C.O.L.D. acronym can help you stay safe and warm.
• Keep your body and clothes Clean
• Avoid Overheating
• Dress in loose Layers of clothing that will trap body heat
• Keep clothes Dry
November, 2011 Every Needful Thing Jason M. Carlton
Understanding the dangers of Carbon Monoxide
Carbon Monoxide, known by the chemical formula “CO”, is a poisonous gas that kills approximately 534 people in the United States every year. Of that number, roughly 207 were killed by CO emitted from a consumer product like a stove or water heater. You can’t hear, taste, see or smell it. It’s nicknamed the Silent Killer because it sneaks up on its victims and can take lives without warning.
CO is a by-product of incomplete combustion, and its sources often include malfunctioning appliances that operate by burning fossil fuels. When these malfunctioning appliances aren’t adequately ventilated, the amount of CO in the air may rise to a level that may cause illness or death. Other CO sources include vehicle exhaust, blocked chimney flues, fuel-burning cooking appliances used for heating purposes, and charcoal grills used in the home, tent, camper, garage or other unventilated areas.
When victims inhale CO, the toxic gas enters the bloodstream and replaces the oxygen molecules found on the critical blood component, hemoglobin, depriving the heart and brain of the oxygen necessary to function.
The following symptoms of CO poisoning should be discussed with all members of the household:
• Mild Exposure: Flu-like symptoms, including headache, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
• Medium Exposure: Severe throbbing headache, drowsiness, confusion, fast heart rate.
• Extreme Exposure: Unconsciousness, convulsions, cardiorespiratory failure, death.
Young children and household pets are typically the first affected. Carbon Monoxide alarms are intended to signal at CO levels below those that cause a loss of ability to react to the danger of CO exposure.
CO detectors are not a replacement for proper use and maintenance of fuel-burning appliances.
CO Safety Precautions
Install a CO detector in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home and make sure it cannot be covered up by furniture or draperies.
• NEVER burn charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.
• NEVER use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.
• NEVER leave a car running in an attached garage, even when the garage door is open.
• NEVER service fuel-burning appliances without proper knowledge, skills and tools.
• NEVER use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens or clothes dryers for heating your home.
• NEVER operate unvented fuel-burning appliances in any room with closed doors or windows, or in any room where people are sleeping.
• NEVER use gas-powered tools and engines indoors.
October, 2011 Every Needful Thing Jason M. Carlton
Searching for a Shelter?
To search for an open shelter, use your cell phone and text SHELTER and enter a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA). The Red Cross will have shelters after a disaster, too. You will be able to search online: Local Chapter. Red Cross also has an iphone Shelter Finder app available in the iTunes Store. They have a website where you can register first and last names and a brief message. Concerned family members can check this site to learn if you are safe and well.
What Do You Need to Know about Shelters?
When you arrive at a public shelter, there are some things you need to know. First of all, make up your mind to be one of the good guys. Every person in the shelter is a refugee, some in better condition than others. Mass sheltering puts many people in a small space, so your part will be limited. Respect the rights and privacy of others. Most public disaster shelters can provide some water, food, medicine and basic sanitary facilities. Keep your emergency kits with you, and in your immediate control, so you will have the specific supplies you need.
Requirements at the Shelter
You will be required to sign in before being admitted to any shelter. The name and contact information of a “next of kin” not in the shelter is required. You will sign an agreement to abide by the shelter’s regulations, which means you will be required to stay until an authority determines it is safe to leave. You will be responsible for your personal belongings. Keep valuables locked in your car or with you at all times, as the shelter will not be responsible for lost, stolen or damaged items. Begin making alternative plans to leave as soon as you are settled.
If you are part of a family in the shelter, plan to take turns on watch duty to make sure your belongings don’t grow legs. Keep your supplies contained and concealed. You will decide if you are willing to share. If you know other families in the shelter, team up to help one another.
Prohibitions in a Shelter
No weapons will be allowed, except those carried by security personnel. No alcohol or illegal drugs are permitted. Parents are responsible for controlling the behavior and location of their children at all times. Keep your space in the shelter clean and organized. Noise levels must be kept low. Quiet time is observed after 11 PM. Be sure to tell the shelter registrar if you have any medical condition that needs attention. You will be referred to a paramedic for treatment.
The amount of time you need to be in a public shelter may be short or long, depending on the conditions that brought you in. Take turns listening to radio broadcasts to stay informed.
Our homes protect us from inclement weather and from the intrusion of other people. We live and store our personal property there. It is the center of our daily activities, and contains a place to prepare food and sanitary facilities. It is our home and we have the right to defend it. It is our obligation to maintain our shelter by paying attention to the need for repairs, whether we do the work or have someone else do it, repairs mean safe shelters. Security also involves habits like locking the door behind you, having screens on windows, and placing dowels in sliding doors.
Add a steel plate over the frame of doors to reinforce the deadbolt area. This will reinforce the door locks. Remove existing door trim, screw in steel strip. Make sure your screws don’t interfere with the bolt positions. Replace the door trim. The door will not give way easily.
During disasters, our first instinct is to shelter in place at home.
If our home is damaged, we may have to leave it and find protection from the elements elsewhere. Depending on the situation, we may be able to find a public shelter in a school or other facility manned by a humanitarian organization. If the disaster is widespread, you may need to make do with items you have in your emergency supplies or apply some wilderness survival techniques to make one. If you find yourself in this situation, preparing a shelter will be a first priority. You will want to get it finished before nightfall.
This will be the time that you are happy to have an emergency kit. Items included in your kit like a flashlight, rain poncho, hand warmers, extra clothing and waterproof matches will be welcome. You may not have an air mattress, but that thermal space blanket and plastic tarp will help avoid hypothermia.
Thanks to Joe Marshall for use of this table from his book, “The-Preppers-Playbook”. Joe is an average guy with a passion for sharing everything he learns. He is managing editor for www.SurvivalLife.com. Joe is graciously making this book available to Every Needful Thing readers at a special price. Click on The-Preppers-Playbook link.
Remember the 4th Survival commandment: “Adapt to the surroundings, wherever they may be.” Gaye Levy
September 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson