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Winter Safety Tips: Don’t wait, take action!

  • Seek shelter in warm spaces or stay dry and out of the wind.
  • Layer clothing and avoid cotton. (Synthetic fabrics wick moisture from your skin and dry quickly.)
  • Wear a water repellent outer layer.
  • Wear a hat/hood, 40% of body heat is lost from your head.
  • Wear mittens or gloves, snug at the wrist.
  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
  • Stay hydrated and consume warm liquids.
  • Know emergency contact location and carry emergency supplies.
  • Know how to get help.


Hypothermia is a medical emergency and immediate medical care is necessary. Be aware of early signs of cold-related illnesses.

Signs + Symptoms

  • Shivering, confusion, exhaustion, drowsiness or feeling very tired.
  • Memory loss and slurred speech.
  • Signs in babies: bright red, cold skin, and very low energy.

Helping those who may be hypothermic:

  • Get the person into a warm room or shelter.
  • Remove wet clothing.
  • Warm the center of the person’s body—chest, neck, head, and groin—using an electric blanket, if available. You can also use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.
  • Warm drinks can help increase body temperature, but do not give alcoholic drinks. Do not try to give beverages to an unconscious person.
  • After body temperature has increased, keep the person dry and wrap their body, including their head and neck, in a warm blanket.
  • Get the person proper medical attention as soon as possible.


A person who has frostbite may be unaware until it’s pointed out because the frozen parts of their body are numb.

Signs + Symptoms

  • Redness or pain in any skin area
  • A white or grayish-yellow skin area
  • Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
  • Numbness

Helping those who may have frostbite:

  • Get the person into a warm room as soon as possible.
  • Unless necessary, do not walk on feet or toes that show signs of frostbite—this increases the damage.
  • Do not rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it at all. This can cause more damage.
  • Put the areas affected by frostbite in warm—not hot—water (the temperature should be comfortable to the touch for unaffected parts of the body).
  • If warm water is not available, warm the affected area using body heat. For example, you can use the heat of an armpit to warm frostbitten fingers.
  • Do not use a heating pad, heat lamp, or the heat of a stove, fireplace, or radiator for warming. Affected areas are numb and can easily burn.
  • Get the person proper medical attention as soon as possible.

(Sources: Weather.Gov, YMCA)