Safety suggestions in extreme cold - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Safety suggestions in extreme cold

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Emergency officials are reminding people to be extra careful as the bitter cold temperatures set in this week.

Wisconsin Emergency Management released some tips on how to stay safe when the cold temperatures combine with dangerous wind chills. 

Drivers should be sure to have a winter emergency kit in the vehicle at all times, including candles and matches, a flashlight, pocket knife, snacks, a cell phone charger, a blanket and extra clothing.

With wind chills well below zero, there is an increased risk of frostbite and hypothermia. Wear a hat and cloves when outdoors. Frostbite can happen in less than 30 minutes of exposure.

Symptoms of frostbite include a loss of feeling and a pale appearance in fingers, toes, ears or nose. Signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, disorientation, slurred speech and drowsiness. 

Authorities also say carbon monoxide poisoning is another risk. Make sure you have working CO detectors in your home. Inspect your furnace to be sure it's properly functioning. Symptoms of CO poisoning are often mistaken for the flu, and include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath/chest pain, nausea/vomiting and confusion. 

Also, be sure to keep your pets warm. Don't leave dogs or cats outside because they're also at risk of getting frostbite. Chemicals used to melt snow an ice can irritate pets' paws, so wash them off when the animal comes inside after a walk.

For more tips, visit ReadyWisconsin.wi.gov.

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