Upper Marlboro, MD – During these frigid weather conditions, the Prince George’s County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) reminds residents to protect themselves from the extremely cold temperatures that are impacting the region. Remember that pro-longed exposure to the cold can cause frostbite or hyperthermia, which can become life-threatening. In addition, infants, the elderly and people with functional needs are more susceptible to cold weather injuries, so check on them to ensure that they are safe and warm.
Here are a few tips that will help to protect you and your family when dealing with these dangerously cold temperatures over the next few days:
Dress/Apparel - Dress for winter weather pay attention to both the actual temperature and the wind chill factor. Sometimes the actual temperature may not seem that cold, but the wind chill can make what appear to be bearable temperatures dangerously cold.
- Dress in layers, wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. Trapped air between the layers will insulate you.
- Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent, and hooded.
- Wear a hat, scarf and gloves/mittens to protect your head, face and hands.
- Stay dry and out of the wind. (Wet clothes chill the body rapidly)
- Wear water-resistant coat and shoes.
- Be sure that your outer layer of clothing is tightly woven to reduce body-heat loss.
- Do not ignore shivering. It's an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.
Weather Related Illness/Injury - Hypothermia and Frostbite are the most common conditions that occur when people are over exposed to severe cold. Hypothermia can set in when more heat escapes from your body than your body can produce. Frostbite is a condition where skin or other tissue freezes due to over exposure to the cold. Symptoms of these conditions include:
- Uncontrollable shivering
- Pale and cold skin
- Confusion, slurred speech or sleepiness
- Shallow breathing or weak pulse
- Stiffness with your limbs, or poor control over body movements
- Gradual numbness
- Hardness and paleness of the affected area during exposure
- Pain and tingling or burning in affected area following warming
- Possible change of skin color to purple
- If symptoms persist, contact the victim’s doctor or call 911.
Traveling During Extreme Cold – Traveling in extreme cold can be dangerous. If traveling is necessary, be prepared for emergencies. Always have your mobile phone with you.
- Ensure that your car is equipped with a full tank of gas and emergency supplies such as blankets, food, extra clothing, first aid kits)
- If you become stranded:
- Wrap/Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna as a signal to rescuers and raise the hood of the car.
- Wrap your entire body, including your head, in extra clothing/blankets
- Run the motor (and heater) for about 10 minutes per hour, opening one window slightly to let in air.
- As you sit, keep your arms and legs moving to improve circulation and avoid frostbite.
- Huddle with passengers to help keep warm.
- Dress in layers and insulate your body temperatures to keep warm.
- Check the transportation schedule to ensure timely operations.
- If you experience a delayed schedule, continue light physical activity to help stay warm.
In addition, OEM continues to monitor the weather conditions and extreme cold. Residents without heat are encouraged to utilize one of the local Warming Centers. (Please refer to the page for specific hours of operation). Remember to call 911 ONLY in cases of emergency. For additional information and resources, residents are highly encouraged to utilize:
Important Utility Numbers Include:
- PEPCO: 1-877-737-2662
- Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E): 1-877-778-2222 or 1-800-685-0123
- Washington Gas: 1-800-752-7520
- Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC): 1-800-828-4002
- SMECO: 1-877-747-6326