Winter Storm Survival

winter stormWinter Storms can be Killers

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 

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.

HYPOTHERMIA 

The warning signs include:

• Uncontrollable shivering

• Memory loss

• Disorientation

• Incoherence

• Slurred speech

• Drowsiness

• 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

 

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