Kentucky Emergency Management
Kentucky Braces for Extreme Cold
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb 18, 2015) - as Kentucky is bracing for extremely cold temperatures, emergency managers warn residents to take precautions to protect themselves.
A State of Emergency remains in effect, and the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) remains activated providing situational awareness to county and state officials.
Bitter cold temperatures are forecast through Friday, and temperatures are expected to fall below record levels. Some computer weather forecast models are showing temperatures of -20 or colder. National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Kentucky have issued Wind Chill Advisories and Wind Chill Warnings for all of Kentucky, as the wind chill may reach -25 to -30. Wind chills this low are particularly dangerous to any one exposed to outside temperatures for any length of time.
Those working outside should take extra precaution and dress in layers, taking frequent inside breaks to warm up. Parents should closely monitor children who may want to take advantage of the snow and play outside. Neighbors are encouraged to check on each other, the elderly and those with special needs.
Officials encourage everyone to take time now to prepare for this type of bitter cold. Below are some cold weather safety tips:
* Frostbite can occur on exposed skin in less than 10 minutes. Symptoms include a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, ear tips and tip of the nose. Limit your time outside. If you see these signs, seek medical care immediately!
* Signs of Hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands,
memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness in adults and children. In infants,
symptoms can include bright red or cold skin and very low energy. If you notice anyone exhibiting any of the symptoms of hypothermia, seek medical care immediately!
* Carbon Monoxide Danger - Those using auxiliary heating devices such as kerosene space heaters should be familiar with the manufacturer's warnings, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to safely operate their units. Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. Breathing carbon monoxide displaces the oxygen in the blood and can cause death within minutes at high levels. Symptoms of overexposure to carbon monoxide are often mistaken for the flu and include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath/chest pain, nausea/vomiting, and confusion. If you or someone you know experience any of these symptoms, or your carbon monoxide detector sounds an alarm, go outside immediately for fresh air and call 911.
A Center for Disease Control carbon monoxide poison fact sheet is available at http://www.cdc.gov/co/factsheets.htm .
* Pet Precautions - While our pets might seem to have built-in, warm winter coats, they, too, are sensitive to the elements. It is recommended to bring them indoors during this extremely cold weather. Dogs and cats can get frostbitten ears, noses and feet if left outside during extremely cold weather. Chemicals used to melt snow and ice can also irritate pets' paws - be sure to keep antifreeze, salt and other poisons away from pets.
* Livestock Precautions - Animals can suffer from hypothermia, frostbite and other cold weather injuries. Harsh conditions weaken their immune systems and open the door to illness. Calves and swine are especially susceptible to cold. Make sure animals have a place to get out of the wind, even if it is just a windbreak or a three-sided shelter. Also provide dry bedding to protect them from frostbite. Animals also burn extra calories to keep warm in severe cold, so provide extra food. They also need access to fresh water - not frozen streams or snow. Stock tank heaters and frost-proof watering devices will ensure that livestock get enough to drink.
During these types of extreme weather the best advice is to stay home, but if you must travel, take your emergency kit along (including blankets), allow extra time, take it slow and allow plenty of space between vehicles.
Road conditions throughout the state can be found on the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's website at www.511.ky.gov, by calling 511 in Kentucky or 1-866-737-3767 for out-of-state callers.
KYEM recommends all Kentuckians know the risks and review winter emergency plans. Check batteries in flashlights, radios and other devices. If you have a generator, make sure it is working properly and you use it safely.
Complete weather forecasts by region can be found at www.weather.gov .
Additional winter safety tips, including winter driving tips, can be found on the KYEM web site at www.kyem.ky.gov . Follow KYEMPIO on Twitter and 'like' us on Facebook.