Safety precautions urged as cold blast hits region

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The first severe cold blast of the winter season is hitting Central Pennsylvania, bringing with it temperatures dipping into the teens as evening falls. The Penn State campus community is urged to take safety precautions to avoid injury and prolonged exposure to the cold. 

The National Weather Service is predicting lows tonight (Monday) (6 degrees with wind chill values at -7) and a daytime high of 21 degrees Tuesday.

Penn State faculty, staff and students are urged to remain mindful of hazards that could endanger their health. Prolonged exposure to cold can lead to frostbite or hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. A body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well.

Here are some tips for staying safe (and warm) in the cold:

-- If heading outdoors, wear warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Change immediately out of wet clothing, which loses insulating value and transmits heat rapidly. Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves, a hat to prevent loss of body heat and cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

-- Watch for signs of frostbite, including loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.

-- Eat well-balanced meals to stay warm. Avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages that cause the body to lose heat more rapidly. Drink warm, sweet beverages or broth to maintain body temperature.

-- Be mindful of those who may need special assistance such as elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.

-- Use fireplaces, wood stoves and other combustion heaters only with proper ventilation to the outside.

-- Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold.

-- If you are stranded, it is safest to stay in your car.

-- Keep pets inside, they also can suffer from extreme cold.


Last Updated January 18, 2016