Cold Weather Coming This Weekend
Per the National Weather Services the City will be experiencing inclement weather. The forecast is for temperatures dropping into the low 40s and high 30s on Friday February 25th and Saturday February 26th. According to the weather service Santa Barbara County could see snow at the 500 to 1000 ft level.
With this information the Santa Barbara City Fire Department and Office of Emergency Services would like to remind you to bundle up for coming cold weather. The following is from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website to assist in identifying the signs of Hypothermia.
“Note the following:
Low body temperature may make you unable to think clearly or move well.
When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced.
You may not know you have hypothermia.
If your temperature is below 95°, the situation is an emergency—gets medical attention immediately.
Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know it is happening and won’t be able to do anything about it.
Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.
Victims of hypothermia are often (1) elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating; (2) babies sleeping in cold bedrooms; (3) people who remain outdoors for long periods—the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.; and (4) people who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.
Warnings signs of hypothermia:
• shivering, exhaustion
• confusion, fumbling hands
• memory loss, slurred speech
• bright red, cold skin
• very low energy
What to Do
If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°, the situation is an emergency—gets medical attention immediately.
If medical care is not available, begin warming the person, as follows:
Get the victim into a warm room or shelter.
If the victim has on any wet clothing, remove it.
Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin—using an electric blanket, if available. Or use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.
Warm beverages can help increase the body temperature, but do not give alcoholic beverages. Do not try to give beverages to an unconscious person.
After body temperatures has increased, keep the person dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.
Get medical attention as soon as possible.
A person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious and may not seem to have a pulse or to be breathing. In this case, handle the victim gently, and get emergency assistance immediately. Even if the victim appears dead, CPR should be provided. CPR should continue while the victim is being warmed, until the victim responds or medical aid becomes available. In some cases, hypothermia victims who appear to be dead can be successfully resuscitated.”
If you will be using a portable space heater, ensure you follow these safety tips:
Do not place heaters under desks or other enclosed areas.
Heaters must be monitored when in operation.
Plug heater directly into a wall receptacle. Never plug it into an extension cord.
Do not use heaters in rooms that will not be continually occupied.
Keep space heaters away from exit ways, walkways and paths of travel.
Do not use space heaters in wet areas like bathrooms or kitchens.
Do not use portable space heaters if small children or pets are expected in the area.
Carbon Monoxide Can Be Deadly
When it get’s cold citizens can get creative when heating their homes. You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes. Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. Hundreds of people die accidentally every year from CO poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances. Fetuses, infants, elderly people, and people with anemia or with a history of heart or respiratory disease can be especially susceptible.
As the cold weather approaches please stay mindful to watch out for your neighbors that may have functional needs. Also remember your pets to bring them inside and out of the cold.