For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Newburyport Officials Provide Cold Weather Safety Tips
NEWBURYPORT — Mayor Donna Holaday, Fire Chief Christopher LeClaire and City Marshal Mark Murray would like to alert residents that dangerously low temperatures are foretasted for this week and remind the community on how to protect themselves and others from the cold.
The National Weather Service predicts that temperatures late Thursday night and early Friday morning could drop to between 10 degrees and negative 5 degrees. Wind chill values are expected to be as cold as negative 15 degrees to negative 25 degrees across the interior and negative 5 degrees to negative 15 degrees near the coast.
“This is the coldest weather we’ve had so far this season and we want residents to be prepared,” Mayor Holaday said. “Those who are working, or out and about Thursday night, or Friday morning should remember to dress appropriately and limit your time outside as much as possible.”
“Don’t forget to prepare your homes during cold weather,” Chief LeClaire said. “Ensure fireplaces have been inspected and cleaned, that you have enough fuel for a your generator if you were to lose power and make sure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly in the event of an emergency.”
While temperatures are expected to warm up by the weekend, extreme cold temperatures and wind chills can be dangerous.
“Temperatures this low, mixed with an extremely cold wind chill, presents a significant concern,” Marshal Murray said. “Be cognizant of your activities while outside, keeping in mind that frostbite and hypothermia are definite possibilities.”
To stay safe and to prepare for extreme weather, Newburyport officials recommend that residents follow several best practices outlined by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency:
- When outside, dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, rather than a single layer of heavy clothing. Wear a hat, mittens (rather than gloves) and sturdy waterproof boots, protecting your extremities, and cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
— Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
— The warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If the person’s temperature drops below 95 degrees, get medical help immediately.
- Have a well-stocked home emergency kit that includes a flashlight, sleeping bag or blanket, portable radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, bottled water and non-perishable food.
- Make sure your car is properly winterized. Keep the gas tank at least half-full. Carry a winter emergency car kit including blankets, extra clothing, a flashlight with spare batteries, non-perishable foods, windshield scraper, shovel, sand, tow rope and jumper cables in the trunk.
- Be a good neighbor. Check with elderly or disabled relatives and neighbors to ensure their safety.
- Limit outdoor time for your pets. Freezing temperatures are dangerous to animals as well as humans.
- Although temperatures may be cold, bodies of water covered in ice are likely unsafe given recent temperature fluctuations. Residents are urged to stay off frozen bodies of water until ice is at least 4 inches thick.
- Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel, as well as alternate emergency heating equipment in case you lose electricity. When utilizing alternate heating sources, such as an emergency generator, your fireplace, wood stove, or space heater, take necessary safety precautions:
— Keep a fire extinguisher handy and ensure everyone knows how to use it properly.
— Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven or charcoal barbecue grill.
— Make sure all heating devices are properly ventilated and always operate a generator outdoors and away from your home. Improper heating devices can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup in the home.
— Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause flu-like illness or death. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 immediately, get the victim to fresh air and open windows.
Call 911, a direct line to the police department and fire/EMS, for emergencies only. All other questions or concerns should be reported to the Newburyport Police Department’s business line, 978-462-4411. To report a power outage, contact National Grid at 800-465-1212. To report a gas emergency, call 911 or National Grid at 800-233-5325.