Staying safe in cold temperatures - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Staying safe in cold temperatures

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PINCKNEYVILLE -- When emergencies happen, ambulance crews are often the first ones to respond. During these frigid temperatures, they said there are several steps you can take to remain safe.

"It's a good idea to dress for your environment and make frequent trips inside and get warmed up especially if you're a small child," Robert Hyman said.

Hyman is a paramedic for the Pinckneyville Ambulance Service and after over two decades in paramedicine, he knows how severe cold weather can be.

He said, however, your body will tell you when it's time to seek heat.

"Early signs of cold related emergencies would be shivering. Shivering is your body trying to generate heat," he said.

It's when you stop shivering that you should be concerned.

Hypothermia sets in when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees and can quickly become life threatening.

Hyman said in the event of an accident, ambulance crews carry the necessary supplies to get you warm, but staying in your car is the best thing you can do until help arrives.

"Call 9-1-1 and stay in your vehicle. A lot of people will get out of their vehicle and start walking for help. That's when they start getting really susceptible to the cold," Hyman said.

Also, if you're thinking about drinking to warm up... don't. Hyman said alcohol reduces body temperature without you noticing.

"Being intoxicated, you're not prone to notice the effects the weather is having on you, so you'll stay out longer. You may pass out outside and get too cold," he said.

Overall, in temperatures like these he said, it's best to think about your surroundings and be careful when traveling.

"A simple error of judgment can effect someone for the rest of their lives," he said.

Temperatures across southern Illinois are forecast to remain below freezing for the better part of the week.

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