Health Department offers tips on braving the cold, announces warming center locations
Dangerously low temperatures have been forecasted for much of the state this week, and Lincoln County Health Department wants to remind residents to take steps to be safe and stay warm this winter.
“Freezing temperatures, wind chills and winter storms can cause hypothermia, frostbite and even death,” said Kristin Bath, Public Health Preparedness Coordinator for Lincoln County Health Department. “The best way to stay safe during extreme cold is to be prepared.”
Exposure to cold temperatures can be dangerous. During the 2017-2018 winter season, 38 Wisconsinites died from exposure to extreme cold. It’s important that people stay inside, when possible, and check on their family, friends and neighbors to make sure they are safe.
Lincoln County residents can go to the following locations, during business hours, to warm up:
•Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital – Emergency Department Lobby: 24 hours/7 days a week
•Tomahawk Public Library: Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
•Tomahawk Senior Center: Monday–Friday 9 a.m.– 3 p.m.
•TB Scott Free Library: Monday–Thursday 9:30 a.m.–8 p.m., Friday 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m., Sunday 12–4 p.m.
•Merrill Enrichment Center: Monday–Thursday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
To protect yourself and your family during extreme cold, follow these safety tips:
•Stay inside. When possible, stay indoors.
•Stock a home emergency kit. Your home kit should include items such as food and water, cell phone and charger, flashlight and batteries, first aid kit, important medications, a weather radio, and a change of clothes. Visit readywisconsin.wi.gov/make-a-kit for more items and tips.
•Dress in layers. If you have to venture out, dress in several loose-fitting layers. Wear a hat, mittens, and snow boots. Use a scarf to cover your mouth and face.
•Winterize your car. Just as you have a home emergency kit, you need one for your car too. Pack items such as blankets, snacks and water, a shovel, jumper cables, and sand. Visit readywisconsin.wi.gov/make-a-kit for more items and tips. Keep your gas tank at least half-full.
•Check on your friends, family and neighbors. The elderly, babies in cold bedrooms, people who spend lots of time outside (e.g., the homeless, hunters), and people who drink alcohol or use drugs are more likely to be harmed from the cold.
•Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors. All homes and duplexes in Wisconsin are required to have properly working detectors on every level, including the basement, but not the attic or storage areas. Detectors can be purchased at most hardware stores for $20-50.
•Never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside your home or garage. Any heating system that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide. Use a battery-powered detector where you have fuel burning devices but no electric outlets, such as in tents, cabins and RVs.
•Run generators at a safe distance (at least 20 feet) from the home. Never run a generator in the home or garage, or right next to windows or doors.
•Limit outdoor time for pets. Extreme cold is dangerous for animals too.
•Know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia. Warning signs include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, and slurred speech, and symptoms can look similar to intoxication. Call 911 if someone is exposed to cold temperatures and you see these symptoms.