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2/12/2016 - Brrr! The Next Few Days Will Be Bitterly Cold. Take Steps To Be Safe When Temperatures Drop

Somerset County Freeholder Deputy Director Peter S. Palmer, public health and safety department liaison, urges residents to prepare for the forecast severe weather conditions over the next few days to ensure that their families and neighbors are safe.

“So far the winter has been mild; however, that will change over the next few days,” said Freeholder Palmer. “Extremely cold temperatures are forecast into next week. Very cold wind chill values are expected, which are dangerous to people and pets.”

Residents can visit for information on how to prepare and how to respond to extreme-cold temperatures.

Preparing for exposure to colder temperatures can mean the difference between staying healthy and the possibility of serious injury or even death. The Somerset County Department of Health wants to share the following information to ensure that residents take necessary precautions and know how to identify cold-weather health issues:

• Try to stay indoors when weather is extremely cold, especially if winds are high.
• If you must go outdoors, make trips outside as brief as possible.
• Dress in layers of warm clothing if you plan to be outdoors.
• Protect your head, neck, hands and feet from the cold by wearing a hat, scarf, gloves and socks.
• Offer to help people in your neighborhood who may have limited access to heat.
• Check frequently on seniors and people who are ill.
• During peak cold times, visit indoor public facilities such as shopping malls, libraries or senior centers, if you don't have enough heat in your home. Check that they are open before venturing outdoors.
• Do not leave pets outside.
• If you use an outdoor generator at home, place it at least 10 feet away from all doors and windows to avoid exhaust gases entering the home.
• Stoves, barbeques and ovens can produce carbon monoxide gas, which can be deadly when used to heat a home. Never use these appliances in place of approved heaters such as electric, natural gas or fireplaces.
• Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home to reduce the risk of poisoning. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include shortness of breath, headache, nausea, muscle and joint pain. Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide could lead to death within minutes. Those suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning should be immediately taken outside into the fresh air. It’s important that they be taken to an emergency room for immediate medical treatment.
• Children, the elderly and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during cold snaps. Extra precaution should be taken to ensure they don't get too cold.

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