According to the National Weather Service, an artic blast is on the horizon from Friday night into Saturday morning, with local temperatures in the single digits and wind chills below -20 degrees.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states cold weather induced illnesses such as frostbite can occur even in temperatures above 40 degrees if a person becomes chilled by rain or sweat, or is submerged in cold water.
To help people prepare, the Townsend Police Department is reminding people of safety tips from the CDC.
When going outdoors, adults and children should wear
• A hat
• Scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
• Long sleeves that are snug at the wrist
• Mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
• Water-resistant coat and boots
Residents are also reminded to layer their clothing strategically
• When choosing an inner layer, wear fabrics that will hold more body heat and fabrics that do not absorb moisture. Wool, silk, or polypropylene will hold more body heat than cotton.
• Wear a layer of clothing for insulation. An insulation layer will help you retain heat by trapping air close to your body. Natural fibers, like wool, goose down, or a fleece work best.
• Select your outer layer carefully. The outermost layer helps protect you from wind, rain, and snow. It should be tightly woven, and preferably water and wind resistant, to reduce loss of body heat.
• Try to stay dry while outdoors, as wet clothing chills the body quickly.
• Excess sweating will cause the body to lose more heat, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm.
• Avoid getting gasoline or alcohol on your skin while deicing and fueling your car or using a snow blower. Getting these on your skin will cause your body to lose more heat.
• Do not ignore shivering, as it’s an important first sign that your body is losing heat. Constant shivering is a sign that it is time to go inside.
For additional information from the CDC regarding cold weather safety, visit cdc.gov/disasters/winter/index.html.
Townsend Police would also like to provide the following safety tips regarding space heaters from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:
• When buying a heater, look for one that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratories.
• Keep the heater 3 feet away from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials.
• Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where someone might bump into it and knock it over.
• Avoid using extension cords. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy-duty cord marked with a power rating at least as high as that on the label of the heater itself.
• Never leave a space heater unattended or running while you sleep. Supervise children and pets when a space heater is in use.
• Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.
• Take care of your pet
Pet owners are also reminded to take precautions during cold weather. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, cold tolerance varies from pet to pet, and owners should be aware of their pet’s tolerance and adjust their activities accordingly.
No pet should be left outside for long periods of time during below-freezing weather. Owners should check their dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. Following a walk, owners should also wipe down their pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove chemicals such as deicers or antifreeze
It is also recommended that you check underneath your car, bang on the hood and honk the horn as a warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor or feral cats. For more tips regarding cold weather and animals, visit the AVMA at avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/petcare/cold-weather-animal-safety.