Staying Safe During Extreme Cold Temperatures

Staying Safe During Extreme Cold 

LANSING - As we experience colder temperatures, being outdoors for a long period of time could put you at higher risk of frostbite or hypothermia.

"If you don't have to go outside in the extreme weather don't," advised Meridian Township Fire Inspector Tavis Millerov. "If you do have to be outside, always dress in layers, loose clothing, loose fitting layers along with having as much of your skin covered as possible."

The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division is encouraging Michigan residents to be extra cautions when going out in the extreme cold.

To stay safe during the cold weather:
-Stay indoors if possible. If you must go outside, were protective gear such as hats, mittens, warm coat, and/or scarf.
-Watch for signs of frotsbite, which include loss of feeling or pale appearance of fingers, toes, or face.
-Watch for signs of hypothermia, including uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, drowsiness, and exhaustion.
-Remove clothing if it gets damp or wet.
-Weather-proof doors and windows to trap heat inside your home.
-Check heating units.
-Check and restock your emergency preparedness kit.
-Minimize travel.

The Michigan State Police also advises drivers to never leave your vehicle if you are stranded due to severe weather.

Animals, just like humans, are also susceptible to colder temperature and need to be cared for appropriately.

Julia Palmer, the President and CEO of the Capital Area Humane Society recommends that owners pay close attention to animals outside.

The Capital Area Humane Society advises to:
-Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or stolen, injured, or killed.
-During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
-Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, as dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost.
-Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow, or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze, or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
-Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.
-Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
-Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter.
-Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle.
-Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts.

If you suspect an animal is being neglected or left out in the cold without proper care, please call the Ingham County Animal Control to file a complaint.

"We have some animals here that were the result of a cruelty case where three animals unfortunately died because they were left out in the elements and the remainder of those animals were confiscated from the owner," Palmer said.

Additional Resources

Meridian Weather