Officials: Key to staying warm in winter is layers




With frigid temperatures, expected snowfall and chilling winds setting in, an expert from the Finney County Emergency Management suggested ways for residents to stay safe.

"Layers," said Gilbert Valerio, assistant coordinator of the Finney County Emergency Management. "Bundle up as much as you can and avoid going outside late when the temperature really declines."

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in the Garden City area are expected to remain below 30 degrees until Tuesday. There is a 20 percent chance of snow today and a 10 percent chance Sunday and Monday. A wind chill advisory also is in effect until 11 a.m. today, with wind chills of 15 degrees to 19 degrees below zero on 18 mph winds in the forecast.

Valerio said if people must go outside, they should wear adequate clothing, such as wool clothing and socks, a stocking cap because most body heat is lost through the head, thick gloves and a coat appropriate for the weather.

He added that any exposed skin could lead to possible hypothermia, or frostbite that could develop within 30 minutes of being outside.

"The first sign is the raw feeling of your hands and feet. Use warm water on your hands to gently rewarm the area; hot water will cause painful blisters. Try to keep as much of your body covered as possible," Valerio said.

For hypothermia, he said, it's necessary to bring the person inside immediately and wrap them in several blankets and seek medical help for extreme cases.

Valerio also said those most affected by the cold are "younger kids and the elderly," and pets.

"Even though our pets have fur, they're not accustomed to extreme cold. If you wouldn't be out there when it's that cold, then bring your pets inside until the cold spell is over," he said.

As for motorists, he suggested keeping extra blankets in vehicles to use in the event of car trouble. If ice or snow is on the road, Valerio recommended driving well below the speed limit and braking early when approaching intersections and stop signs.

"The good thing about living here is that the cold is something we are accustomed to and it isn't a surprise, but when we put out our reports and warnings about the low temperatures, they don't understand it until it actually happens," he said.

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