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City Issues Safety Tips For Extreme Cold Monday

Temperatures are expected to fall between 11 and 15 degrees below zero on Monday, with wind chill values hitting -40 to -50 between Sunday and Tuesday.

The city of Evanston shared the following press release: 

Very cold weather is expected for at least the next five days, including periods of subzero temperatures and wind chill values. Evanston Health Department Director Evonda Thomas-Smith reminds residents of the importance of staying warm and safe in the very cold temperatures to which they may be exposed. Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outdoors, can be dangerous to anyone, but particularly to the elderly, infants and young children, persons with disabilities and people on certain medications.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning residents about the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. The City of Evanston offers a variety of services to protect the public from very cold temperatures.

The following City of Evanston facilities are open to the public this weekend:
• Robert Crown Center  (Sat. 6 am until midnight; Sun., 6 am EXTENDED TO OVERNIGHT into Mon.)
• Fleetwood-Jourdain Center: (Sat. and Sun. 8 am until 6 pm)
• Levy Senior Center: (Sat. 9 am until 3 pm; Sun. 9 am until 10 pm)
• Chandler-Newberger Center: (Sat. and Sun. 8 am until 9 pm)
• Main Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., (Sat., 9am until 6pm.; Sun. noon until 6pm)
• North Branch Library, 2026 Central St., (Sat., 10am until 6pm)
• Chicago Ave./Main St. Branch Library, 900 Chicago Ave., (Sat., 10am until 6pm)

What constitutes very cold weather?
As of noon on Friday, January 3, a cold emergency has not been declared, but the weather is cold enough to cause concern. The criteria for a wind chill advisory is wind chill equivalent -30◦ Fahrenheit or colder.  If  temperatures reach the level that require the Evanston Health Department to activate the extreme temperature plan, a 24-hour warming shelter will be opened at Robert Crown Center.

Extreme cold may result in hypothermia
Hypothermia is the most serious of cold-related illnesses. Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposure to cold. When a person experiences hypothermia their body temperature is so low that it affects the brain, making the person unable to think clearly or move well. The warning signs for adults are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling of hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. Warning signs for infants are bright, red colored skin and very low energy.

What to do if you experience hypothermia:
• If body temperature is below 95◦ Fahrenheit, seek medical attention immediately.
• If medical attention is not available, get to a warm room or shelter, remove any wet clothing, begin warming the body from the center of the body out, drink warm beverages, and keep the body dry. 

Extreme cold may result in frostbite
Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas, most often the face, fingers and toes. The warning sings of frostbite are white or grayish-yellow skin areas, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness.

What to do if you experience frostbite:
• If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.
• If medical attention is not available, and there no signs of hypothermia, get to a warm room or shelter, do not walk on frostbitten areas, immerse the affected area in warm (not hot) water, warm the affected area using body heat – but do not rub the area, and do not a use a heating pad, lamp or other heat-producing electrical devices. 

How to prevent cold-related illnesses:
• Have an emergency supply kit for both your home and car. In the kit include such items as blankets, matches, a standard first-aid kit, flashlight, battery-powered radio, battery-powered clock or watch, extra batteries, snow shovel, booster cables, mobile phone, compass, tool kit, tow rope, tire chains, and brightly colored cloth.
• Conserve heat within the home by avoiding extra ventilation
• Monitor your body temperature
• Keep a water supply
• Eat and drink wisely by consuming well-balanced meals; avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages
• Dress warmly and stay dry
• Avoid exertion
• Understand wind-chill
• Be cautious about travel

You can find more information in the Illinois Department of Public Health Weathering Winter booklet atwww.idph.state.il.us/public/books/weatheringwinter.htm

For more information or updates, call 3-1-1 or visit www.cityofevanston.org

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