Dangerously low temperatures and accumulating snow are in the forecast for much of the Midwest and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants individuals and families to be safe when faced with the hazards of cold temperatures and winter weather.

“Subfreezing temperatures and wind chills can be dangerous and even life-threatening for people who don’t take the proper precautions,” said Andrew Velasquez III, FEMA Regional Administrator. “It is important for everyone to monitor their local weather reports and take steps now to stay safe, whether traveling or at home, during times of extreme cold temperatures.”

During cold weather, you should take the following precautions:

Stay indoors as much as possible and limit your exposure to the cold;
Dress in layers and keep dry;
Check on family, friends, and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance;
Know the symptoms of cold-related health issues such as frostbite and hypothermia and seek medical attention if health conditions are severe.
Bring your pets indoors or ensure they have a warm shelter area with unfrozen water.
Make sure your vehicle has an emergency kit that includes an ice scraper, blanket and flashlight – and keep the fuel tank above half full.
If you are told to stay off the roads, stay home. If you must drive, don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and stay on main roads.

You can find more information and tips on being ready for winter weather and extreme cold temperatures at http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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