Winter Wonderland

New Prague, along with the rest of Minnesota and most of the northern United States, was thrown into the deep freeze this past week. Temperatures rarely ventured above ˚ degrees Fahrenheit, keeping people and pets indoors for the most part during the New Year’s weekend.

As veteran Minnesotans, most of us know the basic rules of safety in sub-zero weather. But with the cold snap expected to continue for a few more days, here are some tips to help you survive, from the American Red Cross:

• Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat prevent losing body heat.

• Signs of hypothermia: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.

• If someone has symptoms of hypothermia, call for immediate medical attention.

• Symptoms of frostbite: numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy feeling skin.

• Bring pets indoors. If that’s not possible, provide more than enough shelter to keep them warm along with access to unfrozen water.

• Avoid frozen pipes by running water, even at a trickle, at all times. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.

• Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home.

• Space heaters should sit on a level, hard surface and anything flammable should be kept at least three feet away.

• If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

• Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

Many Minnesotans enjoy the winter weather and outdoor activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, skating or snowshoeing. For those who don’t, fear not. Winter won’t last forever. All we need is some patience. Sooner or later, the weather will get warmer and we can once again venture out and enjoy the great outdoors.