Your personal health and safety can be in jeopardy during extreme winter cold. When temperatures drop below normal and as wind speed increases, heat can leave your body quickly and can lead to serious health problems. The most common problems are hypothermia and frostbite. Seniors are especially at risk for cold weather illness. Visit the Department of Senior Services’ website for more information on emergency preparedness for seniors.
Taking preventative action is your best defense against extreme cold. By taking precautions before winter hits, you can reduce your risk of weather-related health problems.
Prepare before winter hits:
It’s important to prepare your home and your car ahead of time for cold winter weather. Visit the Winter Home Preparedness page for more information and an emergency supply kit checklist.
Health problems related to extreme cold:
If you have been exposed to extreme cold and are experiencing the following symptoms, call
- Hypothermia: Abnormally low body temperature from prolonged exposure to cold
- Frostbite: Causes loss of feeling and color in affected areas of the body, often the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes
- Heart disease: Those with heart conditions are at a greater risk during extreme cold, so be extra aware of your symptoms
“Code Blue” is declared in Erie County during extremely low temperatures to provide extra shelter, clothing and hot meals for homeless people. Two warming shelters make up extra beds and meals to accommodate everyone who needs shelter from the dangerous weather conditions:
- Buffalo City Mission - 100 E Tupper St., Buffalo, NY 14203, (716) 854-8181
- St. Luke’s Mission - 325 Walden Ave., Buffalo, NY 14211, (716) 894-4476
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: Extreme Cold: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety
- NYS Department of Health: Don't Be Left in the Dark - Weathering Floods, Storms and Power Outages