NORWALK, Conn. -- As temperatures continue to dip this week and the possibility of a weekend storm looms, the Norwalk Fire Department's Office of Emergency Management is reminding residents to take safety precautions when inside and outside their homes.
Arctic temperatures are expected to last through the weekend with temperatures in the in the low to mid-20s, but with the wind chill, it will feel closer to zero.
When temperatures drop this low, residents are encouraged to stay inside as much as possible. If they have to go outside, plan ahead and dress in the appropriate cold weather attire to protect yourself and prevent frostbite or hypothermia, officials said.
To stay safe and to prepare for extreme weather follow these safety tips:
- When outside, dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, rather than a single layer of heavy clothing. Wear a hat, mittens (rather than gloves) and sturdy waterproof boots, protecting extremities, and cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately. The warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If the person’s temperature drops below 95 degrees, get medical help immediately.
- Have a well-stocked home emergency kit that includes a flashlight, sleeping bag or blanket, portable radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, bottled water and non-perishable food.
- Keep the gas tank on your car at least half-full. Carry a winter emergency car kit including blankets, extra clothing, a flashlight with spare batteries, a can, waterproof matches (to melt snow for drinking water), non-perishable foods, windshield scraper, shovel, sand, tow rope and jumper cables in the trunk.
- Be a good neighbor. Check with elderly or disabled relatives and neighbors to ensure their safety.
- Limit outdoor time for your pets. Freezing temperatures are dangerous to animals as well as humans.
In addition, residents are encouraged to make sure they have sufficient heating fuel, as well as alternate emergency heating equipment in case they lose electricity. When utilizing alternate heating sources, such as an emergency generator, fireplace, wood stove, or space heater, take necessary safety precautions:
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy and ensure everyone knows how to use it properly.
- Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven or charcoal barbecue grill.
- Make sure all heating devices are properly ventilated and always operate a generator outdoors and away from your home. Improper heating devices can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup in the home.
- Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause flu-like illness or death. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 immediately, get the victim to fresh air and open windows.
Space heaters are not a sufficient heating source and should not be used as one. Be sure to have them on only intermittently for an extra heat source and turn them off when you leave the room and before going to bed. Don’t place blankets, clothing or other flammable items on top of space heaters.