It’s cold out there! Be careful!

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Below-freezing temperatures are predicted for Alabama and northern Florida this week, and the American Red Cross is offering tips to stay safe during this hazardous weather.

“This extreme cold can be dangerous, but there are ways to combat it,” said Mark Beddingfield, CEO of the Alabama Red Cross. “It’s a great time to reacquaint yourself with cold weather safety tips.”

The Red Cross’s safety tips include:

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• Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will prevent losing body heat.

• Know the signs of hypothermia — confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. If someone has these symptoms, they should seek immediate medical attention.

• Watch for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy feeling skin.

• Bring the pets indoors. If that’s not possible, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm, and that they can get to unfrozen water.

• Avoid frozen pipes — run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.

• Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home.

• Space heaters should sit on a level, hard surface, and anything flammable should be kept at least three feet away from the source of heat.

• If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

• Turn off space heaters and make sure that fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

You can learn more about how to treat cold weather related emergencies by downloading the free Red Cross First Aid App online at For more information and more tips about winter safety, visit the American Red Cross online at