Advice for avoiding frostbite, hypothermia with the coming Wisconsin cold weather

NOW: Advice for avoiding frostbite, hypothermia with the coming Wisconsin cold weather

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- For some Milwaukee-area companies, like Ultra Carpentry, workers have no choice but to be outside over the weekend.

And they take precautions.

“You can tell when a guy is cold, and you make sure he's got the right stuff on him," Ultra Carpentry framer Jonathan Little said. "We’ve got a trailer with compressors blowing hot air in there, so you can stand next to that if you’re cold.”

Doctors say frostbite becomes much more common with the negative temperatures expected this weekend.

“It takes intentional thought and intentional plan," UW-Health emergency physician Dr Jeff Pothof said. "You know, what am I doing? What am I going to wear? Where do I go if I get cold? How long am I going to be out there?”

Some of the big keys to avoiding frostbite and hypothermia are dressing in layers, taking breaks from your time outdoors and staying dry.

That means avoiding sweating when outside.

“A lot of the insulating properties of these fabrics start to go away once you get wet," Pothof said. "You get pretty cold pretty quickly when that snow evaporates.”

The Milwaukee Fire Department said people who suffer cold-related injuries or deaths often have prior medical issues. They recommend checking on any elderly friends and neighbors just in case.

“Just because of medications, you could have a loss of balance or coordination, and you could slip and fall and get hurt that way," Battalion four Chief Steven Weinkauf said. "And now you’re laying out in the snow. And it’s very dangerous, you could get hypothermia.”

Weinkauf said the fire department could also use help from the public. It has snowed so much in Milwaukee, the fire hydrants are covered up.

MFD does not have the resources to dig those out, so communities that dig fire hydrants out of the snow could see fires put out faster.

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