The National Weather Service is monitoring some very cold artic air approaching from the north; possibly causing temperatures to drop into single digit nightime lows during the first part of next week. Temperatures could remain very low for at least two to three days, and is currently being billed as the coldest air in the area since January 2019.
That being said, City of Charlestown officials would like to take the opportunity to offer some extreme cold weather planning and preventative measures; not only as a reminder, but also to help reduce any impacts from severe weather this time of the year.
Here are a list of suggestions for extreme winter weather planning and hazard prevention:
-Electricity, heating, communication, food/water and medications are essential; have a back up plan and act immediately if any of these become unreliable.
-Check on elderly friends, family and neighbors (especially those living alone); while following the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on maintaining social and physical distancing. Consider connecting with family and friends by telephone, e-mail, text messages, video chat, and social media. If you must visit in person, wear a mask and maintain a distance of at least six feet from them.
-Avoid prolonged outside exposure, dressing in layers, and knowing the early signs of frostbite/hypothermia.
Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers and toes.
Signs: Numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin.
Actions: Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water. Use body heat to warm. Do not massage or use a heating pad.
Hypothermia is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency.
Signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech or drowsiness.
Actions: Go to a warm room. Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head and groin. Keep dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the head and neck.
-Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing; such as opening cabinet doors under sinks and running a trickle of water overnight.
-Prepare for power outages during any extreme weather events (checks supplies of firewood, heating oils, furnace filters). Test and check full supplies for backup generators
-Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.
-Don’t forget about pets, outside exposure to the weather is just as dangerous for our four legged friends.
-Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Remember the needs of your pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights. If you are able to, set aside items like soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, disinfecting wipes, and general household cleaning supplies that you can use to disinfect surfaces you touch regularly.
-Have a backup shelter plan, in case it becomes to hazardous to remain at home.
-Know where to get the latest local information on weather updates and emergency community resources. In Charlestown, follow the City of Charlestown and Charlestown Police Department on social media or visit www.cityofcharlestown.com and www.ctownpd.com. In the event of an emergency, as always, DIAL 911.