Pennsylvania's health and emergency management officials are urging people to pay attention to forecasts that call for snow across much of Pennsylvania into Friday morning, followed by bitterly cold temperatures.
Dave Holl, deputy director of operations at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, said people who travel should have essential items in their vehicles; including food, water and warm clothes.
Holl said the weather could lead to hazardous driving conditions, and dangerous wind chills will make it unsafe to be outside for any extended period of time.
The Department of Health is urging Pennsylvanians to take the following commonsense steps to reduce the risk of health hazards during and after the storm:
Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning during power outages:
- Never use an electric generator, camp stove or similar device indoors since they produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that builds up in closed spaces and is deadly.
- Leave your home immediately and call 911 if your carbon monoxide detector sounds. Get medical help right away if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and are dizzy, light headed or nauseous.
Stay as warm as possible:
- Hypothermia is a serious condition that happens when your body temperature is too low. Older Pennsylvanians and babies are most at risk and should be checked frequently. If your power is out for a long time, stay with a relative or friend, or go to a shelter if one is open in your area.
- If you must venture outdoors, make trips brief and dress warmly. Cover your ears, head, mouth and face to prevent frostbite.
Prevent snow removal injuries:
- If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or other symptoms of a heart attack while shoveling snow, call 911.
- When possible, push snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, bend your legs and not your back. Also avoid twisting motions that can stress your back.
- If using a snow blower, read and follow all safety instructions.
Downloadable emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates are available at www.ReadyPA.org.