It’s Getting Chilly Around Here


It got a little colder this week in Southeastern, Pennsylvania. I could tell because I got requests for scarves, hats and gloves, which, it turned out, had all been “donated” to the school Lost and Found sometime last spring. Apparently, nothing spoils the mood of a sleepy teenager more than the absence of his favorite winter hat on a cold morning walk to the bus stop. I suspect my son will survive, but protection from the cold is important to keep in mind this time of year.

For many of us, especially the very young and the very old, overexposure to cold can cause injury or serious illness such as frostbite or hypothermia. Also, as temperatures drop, people may try using alternative heat sources, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning or fires. The Red Cross offers these tips to stay safe in the cold weather:

Out in the cold:

Dressing in several layers of lightweight clothing keeps someone warmer than a single heavy coat.

Mittens provide more warmth to the hands than gloves. Wear a hat, preferably one that covers the ears.

Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep feet warm and dry and to maintain one’s footing in ice and snow.

At home:

Never operate a generator inside the home, basement or garage. Do not hook up a generator directly to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment needed directly to the outlets on the generator.

Prevent frozen pipes – when the weather is very cold outside let cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.

Bring family pets indoors or provide adequate shelter and water.

Avoid using a stove or oven to heat your home. Keep a glass or metal fire screen around the fireplace and never leave a fireplace fire unattended.

If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface. Turn the space heater off when leaving the room or going to sleep.

On the road:

Carry an emergency preparedness kit in the trunk. FEMA has great advice about this!

Keep the car’s gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.

If someone does get stuck, stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety. Start the heater every hour for ten minutes and turn on the lights to help rescuers find you. Also, crack a window away from the wind to let in air.


More information is available on our national Red Cross website. Please follow this link to learn more.

— Submitted by Sarah Peterson, Communications Volunteer

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