Cold injuries can occur whenever air temperature is below freezing (32 degrees F). Freezing of the skin surface is called ‘frost nip‘. When freezing extends deeper though the skin and flesh, the injury is called ‘frostbite‘.
Hypothermia is a life threatening condition in which deep-body temperature falls below 95°F (normally 98.6°F).
While you can get hypothermia even during relatively warm conditions, when temperatures plummet the danger and risk of getting frost nip, frostbite, or hypothermia becomes even greater – because it can come on much faster.
Tips to prevent hypothermia…
Body temperature falls when the body cannot produce heat as fast as it is being lost.
At rest, the body core loses about 7 percent of its heat through the head.
When exercising, the head will lose more body heat which can ramp up to 50 percent heat loss, but the heat loss percentage will then diminish when you start to sweat and when your muscles start demanding more blood flow.
When in hypothermia however (shivering), core body heat loss through the head increases to as much as 55 percent and remains at this high level.
Stay hydrated. A dehydrated body will slow blood circulation.
Avoid smoking – nicotine will constrict the blood vessels.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine which can lead to dehydration.
If cold, it is better to be active than to huddle up.
Heat production is increased by physical activity, but avoid sweating.
Don’t skip meals which will lead to slower metabolism and blood flow.
Wear the right clothes the right way.
Too much clothing can cause overheating and dehydration.
Avoid tight fitting clothing.
Clothes should be worn loose and in layers.
Clothing should be made of material that water vapor can pass through.
Avoid 100 percent cotton. Use synthetic fabrics for wicking moisture.
Use water and wind resistant outerwear. Nylon, Gore-Tex.
Socks should be changed frequently.
Keep hands well protected. Mittens are better than gloves.
Cover your head. Wear a hat!
Use insulated hats and gloves made with materials such as Thinsulate™
Stay Dry. Stay Dry. Stay Dry.
A very lean person is more susceptible to cold (fat is an insulator).
Self Check by pinching your fingernail to watch how fast the blood returns to your finger.
Avoid being alone in the very cold. Buddy system.
Keep an eye on your children who don’t know about the dangers of cold.
Keep a survival kit nearby which should include a means to make fire.
Know how to build a fire and how to procure tinder and kindling in wet conditions.
Understand ‘wind chill’ and avoid windy places.
When there are forecasts of a winter storm bearing down on you, remember this… BEFORE the winter storm hits, check the following winter weather preparedness items for your home and your vehicle…
This short list should be a general reminder of things for you to think about BEFORE a winter storm strikes. In no way is this list all-inclusive (it would take a book), and in fact this list is quite minimal. If you’re interested, there are many additional articles to be found within our blog regarding preparedness, preps, and being better prepared.
While most people have enough food in their home to last at least a few days, double-check your consumables in advance of others clearing out the grocery store shelves of milk and bread, etc.
You should ALWAYS have some food in your vehicle (as in, 72-hour emergency kit). At a minimum, keep a number of food bars (typically 200-calories each) in case you’re stranded or delayed in bad weather. In theory, 10 of these would be enough calories for a day’s survival for one person.
If you know that you are nearing a prescription refill, it is better to take care of that before a winter storm.
Portable AM/FM Radio
Having a battery operated portable AM/FM/Shortwave radio is imperative for when the power goes out. It will become your source to information from the outside world.
Best Cheap Portable Radio
Best Portable AM/FM/Shortwave Radio
A public alert weather radio is good all year round for all severe weather. During the winter you will be alerted to winter storm watches and warnings, and more…
NOAA Weather Radio Basics
Portable Emergency Heater
Most home heating systems will not operate if the power goes out. It is prudent to consider an alternative means of keeping warm in your home.
Mr. Heater Buddy
If the power goes out, it would do you well to have a decent sleeping bag, which will keep you warmer than just in bed with blankets. Lots to pick from… Check temperature ratings…
Queen Size Sleeping Bag
Creature comforts are important too. If you are like most people and you drink coffee in the morning, about the only way you’re going to get that cup of coffee when the power goes out is with a percolator (along with a portable camp stove to heat it).
Portable Cook Stove
Without power, a portable camp stove will allow you to heat food, etc. Check for safety issues regarding cooking indoors. Some are deemed safe, while others are not.
Portable Gas Stove
Do you have warm blankets at home? It is also important to keep a blanket to wrap around you in your vehicle during the winter.
The Warmest Survival Blanket
Should you get ditched in a snow drift or an unfortunate accident, a series of road flares will greatly increase visibility and caution for other drivers. You can find these at auto-parts stores and other stores…
I know this is pretty obvious. But don’t forget to keep a snow shovel in your vehicle! They make all sizes and shapes, so find one that will fit in your trunk.
There are several types of ‘road salt’ for melting ice. There are also specific varieties that are pet-safe (won’t hurt their paws). Keep some at home, and a small bag in your trunk of the vehicle. Kitty litter works well for temporary traction.
Just be sure that you remember to put it in your vehicle. I would get a new one each year because the plastic blade tends to chip after a bit of usage and will not always do as good a job on the window the following winter.
Windshield Washer Fluid
Get the kind that is good to below zero-degrees! Otherwise it will freeze and won’t spray on your windshield when you need it the most. Check the label.
Fill Your Tank
Always keep your gas tank closer to FULL than EMPTY, especially during the winter.
The point is to run through an overview of what you might need BEFORE a winter storm hits. The big thing is to plan for an assumption that you may lose power. This is where it gets most dangerous (other than the dangers of driving during a winter storm). Be safe.
The Month of May is Volcano Awareness Month and a good time to mark your calendars for the Great Washington ShakeOut! Drop, Cover, and Hold On at 10:17 a.m. on October 17th*.
Last year the Center and our over 75% (twenty-five) of our SBCTC colleges and members of our SSEM Council partnered with state Emergency Management Division (EMD) and Pierce College’s Homeland Security Emergency Management Degree Program (HSEM) to support the involvement of our community and technical colleges in The Great Washington Shakeout. This is the state’s largest earthquake preparedness drill and helps colleges meet state and federal requirements for preparedness drills and exercises. Forty four Washington colleges and universities reached more than 158,000 participants.
Again this year the HSEM Degree student interns from Pierce College are working with State EMD to support the ShakeOut event which will be held on October 17. We look forward to having even more of our colleges participate in this year’s event. The link to register is below along with additional information.
Register now for the largest drop, cover, and hold drill in history at
May 18, 1980 remains a vivid memory for millions of Washington’s residents as the day that Mount St. Helens propelled volcanic ash skyward to an altitude of 80,000 feet in just 15 minutes. Volcanic ash clouds traveled across our state and around the world, as did the message that Cascade Range volcanoes can erupt. They can disrupt our lives, our state’s economy, and entire regions of our nation. Eruptions in the Cascades have occurred at an average rate of twice per century during the past 4,000 years, and future eruptions are certain. Many of those eruptions, lasting weeks to years, would have caused considerable property damage and loss of life if they had occurred today. The USGS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network monitor the Washington Cascade volcanoes to detect subtle changes that may herald the next eruption and work closely with local, State and Federal emergency managers to prepare for the next volcanic eruption in Washington.
We invite you to learn more about volcanoes and volcanic hazards in Washington State by visiting the USGS website at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/cvo/ . NEW! Now, you can register to receive regular volcano activity updates and be notified of new activity via the Volcano Notification System (VNS) http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/activity/status.php, and keep informed about USGS-CVO current events at home page HOT STUFF.
This summit is a rare opportunity to connect with peers across jurisdictions and throughout agencies. We know it can be difficult to make time to interface with some of your fellow emergency responders when we all get caught up in the whirlwind of our own projects. The EM Summit is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with past acquaintances and develop a few new relationships. Furthermore, these summits are the ideal setting to engage with top technology leaders on what’s new and what’s needed in the field. Joining us on the stage this year will be leaders from the City of Seattle, the Center for Regional Disaster Resilience, the Northwest Healthcare Response Network, and others.
You will hear about emerging technologies in preparing for mass casualty events, how experience and innovation are influencing public safety solution development , FirstNet, new video surveillance capabilities, situational awareness in disaster response, next
generation 9-1-1, and much more. This is the event to hear about the top new technologies all in one location. Don’t miss your chance!
The full agenda and more featured speakers can be
I hope that you can join us for this important
event! There is no cost to attend and you can register online here: www.emergencymgmt.com/seattleemsummit/2013/register
For more information contact Marty Pastula, Publisher & Vice President, Emergency Management Media
From December 24th through December 28th, Pierce College will be completely closed at both Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup.
We will be programming all exterior doors to remain closed in the mornings; you will have no card access. If you come into work for any reason that week, you will need to contact our security department to let you in.
Thank you and have a safe Holiday Season.
253-964-6751 Steilacoom Security
253-840-8481 Puyallup Security
Are you a college or university emergency management professional? If so, join the Disaster Resilient University (DRU) community for the latest on campus emergency management.
From their page:
Disaster Resilient University (DRU) Network
The mission of the Disaster Resilient University (DRU) network is to facilitate open communication, discussion, and resource sharing between university/college emergency management practitioners charged with making our campuses more disaster resilient. The goal of the DRU network is to provide a simple resource that can increased communication, coordination, and collaboration between universities around the world that can be used to increase the capacity of our campuses to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, continue operations during, and recover from natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other human-caused crises or disasters.
A Disaster Resilient University (DRU) group has been established for university and/or college emergency management professionals to share information, technical resources (such as templates or examples, After Action reports, lessons learned, and best practices or case studies) and engage in discussions and dialogues related to the profession and emerging issues around campus emergency management.
On First Responder Communities of Practice you can also:
Who Can Join?
As the holiday season revs up, so do the local criminals. Here are some tips for keeping yourself and your property safe.
Personal Property Theft Prevention
Vehicle Theft Prevention
Alert Campus Safety of all suspicious persons on campus
For more information, please contact Campus Safety at either campus or visit our website at: http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/Safety/.
Fort Steilacoom Campus Safety: (253) 964-6751
Puyallup Campus Safety: (253) 840-8481
Here’s a nice example of a resource created for use within a campus community:
If you have questions, contact Marilyn Westlake, firstname.lastname@example.org