Safety reminders during Winter Hazard Awareness Week

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With winter weather upon us, the Duluth Fire Department is reminding people about fire and frostbite hazards.

This week is Winter Hazard Awareness Week, and Fire Captain Michael Consie says planning ahead is essential.

"As we start getting into these colder temperatures, it’s really important to pay attention to the weather forecast," shared Captain Consie. "Really plan what you’re going to be heading out into for the day."

Other tips include packing extra warm clothes. When the temperatures really drop, hypothermia can set in quickly, but a dry pair of gloves could make all the difference.

Captain Consie has some good advice for treating frostbite, suggesting you should pay attention to your exposed skin.

"You’re looking for when your skin starts turning red, maybe that kind of pale white, even into gray-ish, that means you have frostbite. You’re going to want to get inside and warm up. You don’t want to be rubbing the area, squeezing it… lukewarm water, more on the cold side is the better way to treat frostbite."

It’s also a good idea to have a blanket in your car, in case you’re stuck somewhere with no vehicle power.

"You want to make sure you have snacks, some type of food that’s going to be high calorie to help you in the colder months. And some water."

Captain Consie says alcohol is a factor during the winter, and some may underestimate how cold it really is outside. So if you are dropping someone off, or sharing a ride with them, make sure they get inside safely before driving away.

When it comes to safety on the inside of your home, Captain Consie has some suggestions for space heaters and how to use them.

"We don’t want to use space heaters with extension cords, you just want to use the manufacture plug that’s with it. Make sure there is nothing around the space heaters, they have to be open," he explains. "If you’re using one that burns a propane or some sort of fuel like that, just be mindful that it does put of carbon monoxide, and you want to use those in well ventilated spaces."

The Duluth Fire Department says a majority of the fires that were started by a space heater are always avoidable. They suggest keeping them clear, and turning them off when leaving the room.