With wind chills ranging
between -20 degrees F to -30 degrees F, the Village of Skokie reminds residents
of the importance of staying warm and safe in the extreme cold temperatures to
which they may be exposed over the next few days. Exposure to cold
temperatures, whether indoors or outdoors, can be dangerous to anyone, but
particularly to the elderly, infants and young children, persons with
disabilities and people on medication.
Additionally, the Village reminds residents that several local facilities and the Skokie Public Library are available as warming centers during regular hours of operation:
Village of Skokie – Warming Center Locations
Illinois Department of Human Services - (Site Designated by State of Illinois)
8020 St. Louis Avenue
Skokie, Illinois 60077
Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Niles Township – (Site Designated by Cook County)
5255 Main Street
Skokie, IL 60077
Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Skokie Public Library
5215 Oakton Street
Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Saturday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sunday, 12:00 to 6:00 PM
Skokie Park District
Weber Leisure Center
9300 Weber Park Place
Skokie, Illinois 60077
(847) 674-1500 ext. 3500
Monday-Friday, 5:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Saturday - Sunday, 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM
What constitutes extreme cold?
A cold emergency is in effect when the national weather service issues a wind-chill advisory. The criteria for a wind chill advisory is wind chill equivalent -30° Fahrenheit or colder.
Dressing for the cold - If you need to be outside, the following suggestions will help keep you warm and protect your body from excessive heat loss.
· Wear several layers of lightweight clothing, rather than one or two layers of heavy garments. The air between the layers of clothing acts as insulation to keep you warmer.
· Cover your head. You lose as much as 50 percent of your body heat through your head.
· Wear mittens rather than fingered gloves.
· Wear warm leg coverings and heavy socks or two pairs of lightweight socks.
· Wear waterproof boots or sturdy shoes that give you maximum traction.
· Cover your ears and the lower part of your face. The ears, nose, chin and forehead are most susceptible to frostbite. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect the lungs from directly inhaling extremely cold air.
Shoveling - Cold weather itself, without any physical exertion, puts an extra strain on your heart. Know your limits when shoveling snow, especially if you do not exercise regularly. If you have a history of heart trouble or any chronic health concerns, talk to your health care provider before shoveling snow. You should rest frequently and pace yourself when shoveling. Remember to lift the snow with your legs, not your back. If you use a snow blower, never use your hands to unclog the machine. If you become breathless, stop, go indoors and warm up before continuing. If you experience chest or arm pain or numbness, stop immediately and go indoors; you may need to call 9-1-1. Overexertion can cause sore muscles, falls and heart attacks.
Heating Safety - For people still needing to use alternative sources of heat, keep in mind:
· Any heater that uses wood, coal, natural gas or kerosene produces carbon monoxide (CO), so adequate ventilation is essential.
· Never use a generator indoors, even with open doors or windows.
· Do not use charcoal or gas grills indoors.
· Do not use a gas oven to heat your home.
You cannot see or smell carbon monoxide (CO), but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes. Symptoms of mild to moderate CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea and lethargy. Higher levels of CO exposure can cause fainting, confusion and collapse and if exposure continues, death can result.
Extreme cold may result in:
· Hypothermia - the most serious cold-related illness. Hypothermia is the result of prolonged exposure to cold. When a person experiences hypothermia, his body temperature is so low that it affects the brain, making the person unable to think clearly or move well. The warning signs for adults are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling of hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. Warning signs for infants are bright red colored skin and very low energy.
What to do if you experience hypothermia:
o If body temperature is below 95° Fahrenheit, seek medical attention immediately.
o If medical attention is not available, get to a warm room or shelter, remove any wet clothing, begin warming the body from the center of the body out, drink warm beverages and keep the body dry.
· Frostbite – a milder cold-related illness is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas, most often the face and extremities. Frostbite can severely damage the body and lead to amputation. The warning signs of frostbite are white or grayish-yellow skin areas, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness.
What to do if you experience frostbite:
If you think you have symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.
If medical attention is not available and there no signs of hypothermia:
o Get to a warm room or shelter.
o Do not walk on frostbitten areas.
o Immerse the affected area in warm (not hot) water
o Warm the affected area using body heat
o Do not rub the area
o Do not a use a heating pad, lamp or other heat-producing electrical devices to warm the areas with possible frostbite.
How to prevent cold related illnesses:
o Conserve heat within the home by avoiding extra ventilation
o Monitor your body temperature
o Keep a water supply
o Eat and drink wisely by consuming well-balanced meals. Avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages
o Dress warmly and stay dry
o Avoid exertion
o Understand wind-chill
o Be cautious about travel
· Have an emergency supply kit for both your home and car.
In the kit include:
o Standard first-aid kit
o Battery-powered radio
o Extra batteries
o Snow shovel
o Booster cables
o Mobile phone
o Tool kit
o Brightly colored cloth
For more information contact the Skokie Health Department at (847) 933-8252, or visit www.skokie.org. In the event of an emergency call 9-1-1.