Extreme Cold Weather — Safety Tips

As sub-zero temperatures hit our region, Senior Centers Inc. would like to remind the community to check on older adult friends and family members, particularly those who live alone. Older adults are especially susceptible to extreme cold. Of course, winter dangers such as broken bones from falls on ice or breathing problems caused by cold air are familiar but exposure to extremely low temperatures, for even a short time, can cause a drop in body temperature.  This condition is called hypothermia. It is serious, possibly even life-threatening.

Other tips include:

•Wear bright colors or add reflective material to clothing so others can see you.

•Watch for ice that can cause falls and leave you unable to get back inside.

•Carry a cell phone and designate someone to call for help if you need it.

•Create an emergency kit that contains a battery operated radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, a loud whistle or bell, food that you can open and prepare easily, water (one gallon per person per day), extra blankets and a first aid kit.

•Keep a backup supply of the medications you take every day.

•Make sure your medical equipment and assistive devices (such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, lifts, oxygen tanks, etc.) are easy to locate in an emergency. Have spare batteries or non-powered options for any equipment that will not work if there is no electricity.

•Designate a safe place to go (such as a friend or neighbor’s house or shelter) and have a plan for getting there if it becomes unsafe to stay in your home.

•Be prepared to quickly explain to rescue personnel how to move you or help you move safely and rapidly (e.g., “take my oxygen tank,” “get my insulin from the refrigerator”).

•Be sure to have shelf stable food on hand such as dried fruits, canned tuna or chicken, and reduced sodium vegetable juice.

•Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. When it’s cold the air is dry, and it is easier to become dehydrated.


Contact Senior Centers Inc. to help identify resources, such as energy assistance, chore service and minor home repairs that can help you stay warm and safe this winter.