Last winter, 75 people died from exposure to cold across Wisconsin. The number of deaths was 36% higher than average over the past few winters, likely due to the sustained extreme cold and higher-than-average snowfall seen across the state last winter.
“It’s important to stay informed on the weather and be prepared for these extremely cold days. Exposure to freezing temperatures can cause hypothermia and frostbite” says Natasha Bentz of the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.
To protect yourself and your family when temperatures fall below zero, follow these safety tips:
When possible, stay indoors
If you don’t have shelter, we highly encourage you to visit public buildings that are open during the day. For non-business hours, we encourage finding friends, family, or someone willing to let you stay at their place. Sojourner House is also available as on overnight shelter.
Dress in layers
If you must venture out, dress in 3+ loose-fitting layers, preferably wind and water resistant. Wear a hat, mittens, and snow boots. Use a scarf to cover your mouth and face.
Never run a propane heater, oven or a grill inside your home or garage to keep warm
Using these appliances can increase risk for carbon monoxide poisoning which can cause significant medical issues (and even death).
Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors
All homes and duplexes in Wisconsin are required to have properly working detectors on every level, including the basement, but not the attic or storage areas. Detectors can be purchased at most hardware stores for $20-50.