Kenneth E. Berkenbush, Chief
17 School Street
Amesbury, MA 01913
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Amesbury Fire Dept. Offers Cold Weather Safety Tips
AMESBURY — With cold weather moving into the area tonight, Mayor Ken Gray, Fire Chief Kenneth E. Berkenbush and the Amesbury Fire Department are seeking to remind residents to be prepare themselves and their homes for below freezing temperatures.
The National Weather Service predicts that temperatures late Thursday night and early Friday morning could drop to between 10 degrees and negative 5 degrees. Wind chill values are expected to be as cold as negative 15 degrees to negative 25 degrees across the interior and negative 5 degrees to negative 15 degrees near the coast.
While temperatures are expected to warm up by the weekend, extreme cold temperatures and wind chills can be very dangerous.
“We are recommending that our residents stay inside and ride out the cold weather tonight. Any outdoor activities or chores should be put off,” Chief Berkenbush said. “We also encourage everyone to check their generators and heating sources to make sure you have taken adequate precautions against the extreme cold.”
To stay safe and to prepare for extreme weather, Chief Berkenbush advises 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, 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.
- Although temperatures may be cold, bodies of water covered in ice are likely unsafe given recent temperature fluctuations. Residents are urged to stay off frozen bodies of water until ice is at least 4 inches thick.
- 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.
Call 911, a direct line to the police department and fire/EMS, for emergencies only.
Contact information for utilities in town are as follows:
- National Grid Electric 800-465-1212
- National Grid Gas 800-233-5325.