Michigan residents reminded to stay safe during cold weather

LANSING — With frigid temperatures expected to impact the entire state over the next week the Michigan State Police is encouraging residents and visitors to be extra cautious when going outdoors.

“The cold temperatures can cause serious injury and be potentially life-threatening,” said Capt. Kevin Sweeney, deputy state director of Emergency Management and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. “We are asking that Michigan residents follow their local weather reports and take appropriate steps to stay safe during this cold spell.”

The National Weather Service is forecasting wind chills to be at or below zero at times Friday with very cold temperatures to last into late next week. Exposure to these temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia, as well as create hazardous driving conditions.

To stay safe during cold weather:

  • Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Signs of frostbite include: loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers and toes, numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin.
  • Signs of hypothermia include: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech or drowsiness.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.
  • Reduce the risk of a heart attack. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
  • Check on neighbors. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.
  • Pets are also at risk for cold weather injuries and should be kept indoors.
  • If travel is necessary, keep a full tank of gas and an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle. Put warm clothing, such as gloves, blankets and hats, and a cell phone charger in your kit.
  • Michigan weather is unpredictable any time of year, but especially during the winter months. If you are stranded, do not leave your vehicle. Stay with the vehicle and wait for help.

Motorists are encouraged to check travel conditions and weather reports before driving at michigan.gov/roadconditions. Major road closures can be found at michigan.gov/drive. The MSP/EMHSD asks that residents tune into local news and/or view these websites rather than calling your local MSP post or 911 for travel conditions.

For more information on how to prepare before, during and after an emergency or disaster, visit michigan.gov/miready or follow MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.

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