A big chill is coming: Vermont Emergency Management urges caution

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Vermont’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is warning Vermonters to brace for this weekend’s chill, in what might be the coldest temperatures of the season.  The National Weather Service is forecasting below zero wind chills Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Some areas could reach a wind chill of 30 degrees below zero or colder Saturday night.

BrrrrPublic Safety officials are urging Vermonters to bundle up and be prepared for the cold.  Dress in layers, ensure you have a sufficient heating fuel (oil, wood, etc.) supply for your home, recognize health risks and take other safety measures as needed. Also, keep your pets at home and inside, limiting their time out of doors.

In addition, you should only heat your home with a heating source that is professionally designed for that purpose.  Improper heating devices can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup in the home.  Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to the flu and include nausea, headache and dizziness.  Always have working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in all living areas of your home, ensure all heat sources are ventilating properly, and always operate a generator outdoors and away from the home.

If you are going outside, dress in warm layers with a hat and gloves to prevent frostbite or hypothermia.  The Vermont Health Department says hypothermia most often affects older people who have inadequate food, clothing or heating, babies sleeping in cold rooms, people who are outside for long periods such as the homeless, hikers and hunters, and those who drink alcohol or use drugs.  Even healthy adults can become hypothermic if not dressed warmly enough for weather conditions.

In the car, keep a blanket, hat and gloves, first aid kit, flashlight and extra batteries.  If you get stuck, don’t venture out on foot in extreme cold.  Have a cell phone to call for help.

Also, check in with neighbors and friends who may need assistance to ensure they’re staying warm.

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