FEMA: Take extra precautions as temperatures drop this week

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants individuals and families to be safe when faced with the hazards of severely cold weather. 

Beginning midweek, wind chills are forecast to be near or below zero in parts of the Upper Midwest, with high winds and snow expected across Minnesota, parts of Wisconsin, and western Michigan.

"As some of us prepare for the upcoming holidays, we must also take steps to protect against the dangers of extremely low temperatures and severe winter weather," said Kevin M. Sligh, acting regional administrator, FEMA Region 5. "Stay inside your home as much as possible; this simple step will not only limit the spread of COVID-19 but will also limit your exposure to the cold." 

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Protect yourself and your family by taking the necessary precautions:

  • Before the temperatures drop, gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days. Keep in mind each person’s and pet’s specific needs, including medication.
  • Dress in layers and keep dry.
  • Check on neighbors, family, and friends while following the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on maintaining social and physical distancing.
  • Know the symptoms of cold-related health issues such as frostbite and hypothermia and seek medical attention if health conditions are severe. Learn more at the CDC’s webpage Prevent Frostbite & Hypothermia.
  • Plug only one heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time and turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed. Never use an oven to heat your home.
  • Bring your pets indoors or ensure they have a warm shelter area with unfrozen water; and
  • Make sure your vehicle has an emergency kit that includes an ice scraper, blanket and flashlight – and keep the fuel tank above half full.

You can always find valuable information to help you prepare for winter emergencies at www.ready.gov/winter or www.usfa.fema.gov. Bookmark FEMA’s mobile site http://m.fema.gov or download the FEMA app today to have important readiness information just one click away.