Milwaukee Health Department urging residents to take precautions during dangerous cold

NOW: Milwaukee Health Department urging residents to take precautions during dangerous cold

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – The City of Milwaukee Health Department is reminding all residents to take precautions as single-digit temperatures and below zero wind chills move in.

“Wisconsin winter has arrived,” said Commissioner of Health Jeanette Kowalik. “I strongly urge residents to exercise caution when outdoors, even if it is for a very short period of time. Additionally, be mindful of those with limited resources who lack access to adequate heating and shelter. Please call 2-1-1 if you or anyone you know needs assistance.”

Wind chills could be as low as -30° Friday morning and a wind chill advisory is in effect for Thursday night and Friday morning.

"Between 1 and 24 degrees below for wind chill is an elevated level of emergency and then anything over 25 below wind chill is a cause for more concern," Kowalik said.

The Health Department has released the following tips to stay safe:

  • When heading outdoors, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Prepare a cold weather emergency kit to keep in your car and include blankets, extra clothing, high energy foods, and first aid.
  • Always wear appropriate clothing and ensure that exposed skin is covered, including fingers, nose, and ears.
  • If idling cars, only do so in well-ventilated, open garages.
  • Heat your home with devices approved for indoor use. Outdoor devices such as wood-burning or coal-burning grills, camp stoves, or other devices should not be used. Never use a stovetop or oven to heat your home.
  • If you have pets, bring them inside and ensure trips outside are brief.

The Health Department is also recommending being cautious on slippery sidewalks to avoid any slips and falls or trips to the emergency room. It's also important to check on the vulnerable like children and the elderly and be careful using space heaters and furnaces.

"My grandfather actually passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning in the early '70s because of a faulty furnace," Kowalik said Thursday.

The National Weather Service says six people died from cold weather in southeast Wisconsin last year.

Anyone in need can dial 211 to find information about warming shelters.

The Health Commissioner says she has a meeting scheduled Monday with the Milwaukee School Superintendent to coordinate efforts to keep kids safe in the cold.

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