Mark Murray, City Marshal
4 Green St.
Newburyport, MA 01950
GNewburyport Fire Department
Christopher LeClaire, Fire Chief
3 Greenleaf St.
Newburyport, MA 01950
For Immediate Release
Friday, Feb. 12, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
*Joint Press Release* Newburyport Police and Fire Department Offer Cold Weather Safety Tips
NEWBURYPORT — As temperatures continue to drop this weekend, Fire Chief Christopher LeClaire and City Marshal Mark Murray would like to remind residents to take safety precautions when inside and outside their homes.
On Saturday and Sunday, temperatures are predicted to be in the teens during the day and drop to below zero at night — some of the coldest weather the region has experienced this year.
“When temperatures drop this low, residents are encouraged to stay inside as much as possible,” Marshal Murray said. “If you have to go outside, plan ahead and dress in the appropriate cold weather attire to protect yourself and prevent frostbite or hypothermia.”
To stay safe and to prepare for extreme weather, the Newburyport Fire and Police Departments recommend that residents follow several best practices outlined by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency:
- When outside, dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, rather than a single layer of heavy clothing. Wear a hat, mittens (rather than gloves) and sturdy waterproof boots, protecting your extremities, and cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
— Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
— The warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If the person’s temperature drops below 95 degrees, get medical help immediately.
- Have a well-stocked home emergency kit that includes a flashlight, sleeping bag or blanket, portable radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, bottled water and non-perishable food.
- Make sure your car is properly winterized. Keep the gas tank at least half-full. Carry a winter emergency car kit including blankets, extra clothing, a flashlight with spare batteries, a can, waterproof matches (to melt snow for drinking water), non-perishable foods, windshield scraper, shovel, sand, tow rope and jumper cables in the trunk.
- Be a good neighbor. Check with elderly or disabled relatives and neighbors to ensure their safety.
- Limit outdoor time for your pets. Freezing temperatures are dangerous to animals as well as humans.
- 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.
“Space heaters are not a sufficient heating source and should not be used as one. Be sure to have them on only intermittently for an extra heat source and turn them off when you leave the room and before you go to bed,” Chief LeClaire said. “Remember to check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they’re working properly so that if an emergency occurs you will be alerted.”