Posted on Feb 19, 2015
The Department of Health recently published, on its website, the following message to all residents regarding being safe in the cold. With another round of extreme cold and wind arriving today and tonight, these tips are more important than ever.
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The media release is as follows:
Governor Tom Wolf, along with the departments of Human Services and Health, are urging Pennsylvanians to take necessary steps to reduce the risk of health hazards, as the National Weather Service has issued wind chill advisories and wind chill warnings throughout much of the state.
“I encourage all Pennsylvanians to be safe and stay aware over the next few days of extreme cold,” said Gov. Wolf. “Also be sure to check on your neighbors and bring your pets indoors.”
“It’s critically important that Pennsylvanians use caution to protect their health and safety this winter. Extreme temperatures are expected, posing severe health threats including frostbite and hypothermia,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, Acting Physician General, Pennsylvania Department of Health. “If you will be spending time outdoors, try to dress warmly and be sure to keep exposed skin areas covered.”
The following are health and safety tips from the commonwealth:
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning during power outages:
- Never use an electric generator, camp stove or similar device indoors since they produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that builds up in closed spaces and is deadly.
- Leave your home immediately and call 911 if your carbon monoxide detector sounds. Get medical help right away if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and are dizzy, light headed or nauseous.
- Stay as warm as possible:
- Hypothermia is a serious condition that happens when your body temperature is too low. Older Pennsylvanians and babies are most at risk and should be checked frequently. If your power is out for a long time, stay with a relative or friend, or go to a shelter if one is open in your area.
- If you must venture outdoors, make trips brief and dress warmly. Cover your ears, head, mouth and face to prevent frostbite.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) is still accepting applications for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) 2014-15 heating season. LIHEAP assists with home heating bills to keep low-income Pennsylvanians warm and safe throughout the winter. Crisis and regular LIHEAP grants are available to renters and homeowners.
Online applications can be completed by visiting www.compass.state.pa.us. Paper applications are still available through local county assistance offices, or interested applicants can download and print an application from the department’s website. Visit www.dhs.state.pa.us and click on “For Adults” then “Heating Assistance/LIHEAP.”
The commonwealth’s ReadyPA campaign encourages citizens to take three basic steps before an emergency occurs: Be Informed, Be Prepared, Be Involved.
More detailed information, including downloadable emergency home and car kit checklists and emergency plan templates, is available online at www.ReadyPA.org.
For more extensive information on managing cold weather, visit www.health.pa.gov or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.