Hello, fellow safety supporters!  The Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad (WVRS) is pleased to offer some safety winter tips to help carefully traverse the potential dangers that accompany the dropping temperatures and wild winter weather.  

Most of these tips will be healthy reminders that can be overlooked when not fresh on one's mind. To help fight the cold, simple remedies like wearing layers of lightweight clothing and covering the areas that are often ignored can be crucial in winter weather...gloves and a hat can make a big difference. Heat usually escapes proportionally to body surface exposed to the cold, so be sure to bundle up. 

Don't forget your pets, too. They experience cold just like the rest of us and should be properly protected in winter weather. During any kind of inclement weather, it is best to stay off the roads, so that Police/Fire/EMS crews can respond safely to any emergency. 

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Some of the biggest risks during the winter are the potential for frostbite and hypothermia from frigid temperatures and added wind chill.  If one does experience a cold injury or ailment, the best advice is to call 911. Before emergency crews arrive, passive re-warming can be achieved simply by wrapping the affected area or person in a warm blanket and moving them to a warmer location.  If moderate or severe hypothermia is a factor, carefully and gently move those affected as the heart works to circulate the blood.  Active re-warming is best done in a hospital due to fear of lowering one's core body temperature. The best stance against frostbite and hypothermia is to stay out of the cold for any prolonged period of time and in a warm home. 

Safety tips for your home are essential when staying warm and secure. For any safety supporters using a space heater or candles, please remember the three feet rule. Keep the space heater on a hard surface and at least three feet away from anything that can catch fire, like clothing, bedding, curtains, etc. The same goes for the fireplace.  Make sure space heaters and fireplace embers are turned off or put out before you leave the room or go to sleep.  A glass or metal fire screen is very helpful for fireplaces to catch sparks or rolling logs.

For those using a generator, please make sure the generator is run outside the house or garage, and connect what you need powered directly to the generator. The carbon monoxide that a generator releases can be deadly and connecting the generator to the home's wiring can cause a fire. 

Water pipes have the capacity to freeze and burst due to the winter cold. It helps to maintain the thermostat at the same temperature, day and night, to prevent this occurrence. Consistently running water or even just exposing the pipes to some of the warmer air by keeping the cabinet doors open can prevent pipes from freezing as well. Just be sure to move any harmful cleaners or household chemicals from the reach of children and pets. On that note, please make sure the number for poison control, (800) 222-1222, is programmed into your phone or easily accessible in case of emergencies. 

The WVRS is here to help the residents in any kind of an emergency, so don't hesitate to call 911 if there is a need.  Also, if you'd like to make a donation to the Westfield Rescue Squad, please visit: www.westfieldrescuesquad.org and click the "donate" button or mail your donation to 335 Watterson Street. 

 As always, thanks for tuning in!  Please be safe this winter season and spread the word!