Will County warming shelters provide respite from dangerous weather
With a deep freeze gripping the region, the Will County Emergency Management Agency has provided a list of warming shelters on its website and winter safety tips for residents. Call ahead to ensure the warming shelter you want to use will be open; some are open by request only.
“I urge any resident who is in need to use these warming centers around the county,” Will County Executive Larry Walsh said. “By using these centers and other common-sense practices, our residents can protect themselves and their family from the dangers of these harsh temperatures.”
The cold weather puts seniors and children at risk, but all ages are susceptible to this extremely cold weather. Hypothermia results from exposure to cold temperatures, when the body's temperature drops below 95 degrees. This can cause drowsiness, hallucinations, shivering and slurred speech. When frigid winds are blowing, it increases the risks for hypothermia.
Frostbite is also a danger in extreme temperatures. The skin may be white or whitish, stiff and numb. Soak frostbitten skin in warm water between 20 and 40 minutes. Do not rub the skin; you can cause additional damage to the frozen tissues.
Outdoor activities -- whether shoveling snow, snowmobiling or skating -- should be undertaken with caution. Shortness of breath or pain in the chest or arms may lead to a medical emergency. Use common sense and go inside where it's warm. Avoid driving or skating on ponds until the ice is at least 8 inches thick.
Call 911 immediately if a person is having chest pains. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, call 911 or take the person to the emergency room if he or she is showing signs of frostbite or symptoms of hypothermia.
In addition, do not leave pets out in this weather; they should be inside the house, garage or heated outbuilding -- the only safe places for pets when the weather is extremely cold. Also provide clean blankets or bedding, fresh water and extra food.