Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Cold Weather Can Take its Toll on People and Homes

The coldest air of the season is just about here.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill warning from 5 am Saturday through 10 am Sunday, with temperatures around zero or below zero.

In that kind of cold it's important to keep your skin covered and dry.

That advice comes from Lt. Jim Carver with the Canandaigua Emergency Squad, a not-for-profit emergency ambulance service.

Carver says people should dress in layers, not too tight, but in loose layers.

If you do get frostbitten, which is characterized by red, painful skin that also may be numb, gradually warm up the area.

"The best way to treat that is to warm it up, but make sure that you stay warm after you start that warming process, because if it gets frostbit again, it may lead to permanent skin damage."

The Red Cross is also alerting people to the symptoms of hypothermia which include dizziness, confusion, exhaustion and severe shivering. 

If someone has those symptoms, they should get immediate medical attention.

When it comes to cold weather and your home, preparation is the key.

That's according to Jerry Ludwig, home repair columnist and former contractor.

He says homeowners should have had the furnace tuned up, their chimney inspected and cleaned if they have one, storm windows and insulation in, by now.

He says if a pipe should burst, the first course of action is to shut off the water.

"There's usually a main shut off right near the water meter, and the problem is if the pipes freeze, it may be a while before they thaw, and you really know there's a problem. So individual plumbing fixtures usually have shut offs near them, at the toilet or the sink. But the biggest thing to do is to get the main water line shut off first then try to isolate the problem."

Ludwig says in the event of a power outage, or if you have water lines that may be subject to freezing, now is not the time to turn the thermostat down.

He adds make sure you have a plumber that you can count on, plus a heat contractor that you use on a regular basis.