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Tips for Staying Safe in Extreme Cold

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging residents to plan ahead for blizzard-like conditions this weekend and the extreme cold that is expected early next week.

Residents are reminded to give special attention to young children, elderly and pets during harsh weather conditions. 

McHenry County is expected to experience blowing snow and extremely low temperatures over the next few days. We encourage you to plan ahead and make only necessary trips. If you do not have to go out and travel, county officials encourage residents to stay home. 

County officials offer the following tips for personal safety: 
  • Clothing and gloves should be worn in layers. Wear a hat, a scarf, and other clothing to cover your mouth and to protect your lungs. 
  • Check on elderly family members and neighbors. Ensure they have adequate heating and nutritious food. 
  • Limit your time outdoors. If you have to be outside, take frequent breaks in a warm location and avoid getting wet. 
  • Keep moving. Your body generates its own heat when you engage in physical activity. 
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia (uncontrollable shivering, disorientation, incoherence, drowsiness, etc.). Seek medical assistance, if needed. 
  • Avoid consumption of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can speed the onset and worsen effects of hypothermia. 
  • Avoid overexertion outside and when shoveling snow. 
  • Keep an eye on pets and keep them indoors as much as possible. Pets suffer in the cold just like humans. 
County officials offer the following tips for home safety:
  • Plan & Prepare: Create a family emergency plan and update it. Tips are available here: www.ready.gov 
  •  Monitor Smoke and Carbon Monoxide on all levels of the home with working detectors. Be watchful of vents and make sure they do not become snow covered. Notify your local fire department if you suspect Carbon Monoxide poisoning.  
  • Keep heat at adequate levels or leave faucets open with a slight drip to prevent pipes from freezing. Do not use an open flame to thaw pipes, use a hair dryer or rags soaked in hot water to aid thawing. 
  • In case of power outage: stock up on batteries, flashlights and canned goods. Keep a battery operated radio, blankets and bottled water on hand. 
  • Start your snow blower in a well-ventilated area to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. 
  • Keep slippery driveways and sidewalks well-shoveled. Apply material for traction to help avoid slips and falls
Here are several links that could provide additional information during winter weather: 
  • The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and several other police departments in McHenry County communicate with the public through Nixle. Register to receive emails and text messages from Nixle at www.nixle.com . The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office also shares information through the department’s Facebook (McHenry County Sheriff’s Office) and Twitter (McHenrySheriff) pages. 
  • • The McHenry County Government Center posts Building Closures on the Emergency Closing Center website: http://www.emergencyclosingcenter.com/ecc/home.jsp. Sign up to be notified for up to two “closure” notifications through email. Enter in the Facility Name “McHenry County Government Center.” Many schools and government agencies use this resource as well. 
  • For Road Conditions on State Highways in Illinois, visit Illinois Department of Transportation site for information: http://www.gettingaroundillinois.com/ and click on Winter Road Conditions. 
  • Information on Wisconsin Road Conditions: http://www.dot.state.wi.us/travel/ 
  • In McHenry County, dial 211 for additional information on health and human services and assistance. 
  • More preparedness tips can also be found on the sheriff's office website: www.mchenrysheriff.org.
Source: McHenry County Sheriff's Office press release

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