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Tips for Weathering the Dangerous Cold

Extreme Cold Continues

Our area is experiencing dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills. The St. Charles Fire Department would like to remind you of some basic safety tips to help endure these historically low temperatures.

“The sustained cold weather is a serious concern. Be sure to avoid strenuous outside activity—or better yet, don’t go out if you don’t have to,” St. Charles Fire Chief Joe Schelstreet reminds. “Also be sure to check on seniors and neighbors who may need your help. As always, call 911 if you need assistance.”

Know Where Your Local Warming Centers are Located

Visit these facilities during normal operating hours if you need to get out of the cold and warm up:

  • St. Charles Public Library, 1 South 6th Avenue
  • Municipal Building, 2 E. Main St.
  • St. Charles Park District Pottawatomie Community Center, 8 North Avenue
  • Lazarus House, 214 Walnut St., offers shelter overnight, based on availability

If You Must Venture Out

Check local weather forecasts before you go.
Dress in layers and limit exposed skin. Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
Make sure vehicles a have a full gas tank to help keep fuel lines from freezing.
Keep an emergency kit in your car. Stock it with blankets, ice scraper, flares or reflective triangle, jumper cables, cell phone charger and cat litter or sand for traction.

Winter Weather Safety at Home

Open cabinet doors under the kitchen sink to allow the heat to enter to keep pipes from freezing.
Be extremely careful using space heaters and allow for proper distances between the unit and anything combustible. This includes furniture and bedding materials.
Never use the oven or other make-shift devices to heat your home.
Test your Carbon Monoxide detectors to be sure they are working.

Ice Hazards

Be very aware of the dangers of walking on ice-covered bodies of water.  When evaluating ice, danger-warning signs include:

  • Flowing water near or at the edges of the ice
  • Water flows in an/or out of the iced-over water body
  • Cracks, breaks or holes
  • Ice that appears to have thawed and refrozen
  • Abnormal surfaces that you have not seen before –e.g., pressure ridges from currents/winds

If your pet falls through the ice, DO NOT attempt to rescue the animal yourself.  Call 911 and the Fire Department will evaluate and aid in the effort to rescue pets in the water. Firefighters have the appropriate protective equipment for cold water rescues and are ready to assist.

For additional information regarding cold weather issues, contact the Fire Department at 630-377-4457.

updated Jan 04, 2018