Submitted on behalf of the Bedford Police and Fire Departments
With cold weather now upon us, Police Chief Robert Bongiorno and Fire Chief David Grunes would like to provide the community with several important tips to stay safe and warm outside and inside. The National Weather Service predicts temperatures for the Boston area to be in the 30s and 40s today and throughout the weekend, with temperatures dipping into the teens during the evening.
Given the inconsistent weather Massachusetts has seen this week, the Bedford Police and Fire Departments would like to advise residents to take precautions given the current winter-like temperatures.
“During cold weather like what we’re experiencing this week, residents should take caution and prepare themselves, as well as their homes and vehicles,” Chief Bongiorno said. “If you can check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially if they’re elderly, to see if they need assistance.”
To stay safe, follow these tips from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency:
- Minimize outdoor activities for the whole family, including pets.
- If outside, dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing instead of a single heavy layer. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat, mittens (not gloves) and sturdy waterproof boots to protect your extremities. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Know the symptoms of and watch out for cold-related illnesses.
- Frostbite is the freezing of the skin and body tissue. Symptoms include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes, face and the tip of the nose. If someone is experiencing these symptoms, move them to a warm location, cover exposed skin, but do not rub the affected area. Seek medical attention immediately.
- Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature is abnormally low and is life-threatening. Symptoms include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss and slurred speech. If someone is experiencing these symptoms, take their temperature. If it is below 95 degrees, seek medical attention immediately. Get the victim to a warm location. Warm the center of the body first by wrapping the person in blankets or putting on dry clothing. Give them warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the person is conscious.
- For your car, check your antifreeze, battery, defroster, windshield wipers, wiper fluid and other vehicle equipment to make sure they are ready for winter driving.
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.
“As we get into heating season, we remind residents to check and clean chimneys and pellet stoves, especially if they’ll be used regularly,” Chief Grunes said. “Additionally, if you need assistance checking or replacing your smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, please call the fire department. We cannot stress how important it is to having working devices.”