Weather Updates

Editorial: Cold weather is coming — be prepared

On Jan. 30 2008 morning wind chill was near 20 below zero.  |  JOHN H. WHITE~ CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

On Jan. 30, 2008, the morning wind chill was near 20 below zero. | JOHN H. WHITE~ CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

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Updated: January 3, 2013 6:25AM

On Tuesday, the Cook County medical examiner’s office reported the first cold-related death of the season. The victim was an 83-year-old woman on the South Side.

Last year, there were at least seven cold-related deaths in Cook County. And Chicago is known to experience winters far more frigid than that one was.

Before the coldest weather arrives or heavy snow brings the city to a halt, it’s time to make sure we’re prepared.

On Thursday, the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications made these recommendations:

† Prepare emergency kits that include necessities for homes and cars.

† Know the warning signs and treatments for frostbite and hypothermia.

† Sign up at as a volunteer with the Snow Corps program to help elderly or disabled people shovel their sidewalks.

† Keep cellphones charged with extra batteries for emergencies.

† Make sure pipes in your home are properly insulated. If they freeze, use a hair dryer or heating pad to thaw them, not an open flame.

† Space heaters are not recommended, but if you use one, make sure they are UL certified and remember that anything within three feet can ignite.

† Shovel around fire hydrants in case the Fire Department needs them in an emergency.

Peoples Gas adds these recommendations:

† Have furnaces and boilers inspected and test carbon monoxide detectors.

† Keep areas around natural gas appliances uncluttered and make sure they have correct flues and ventilation.

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