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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Season Snow Storm - Prepared-Informed-Safe-Home

The December 2009 Holiday Season Snow Storm has Prince George’s County under a Winter Storm Warning, A Blizzard Warning and a State of Emergency declared by both the Governor and the County Executive. Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson declared a State of Emergency which requires all civilian vehicles off the roadways. Current snowfall estimates are at the 1-foot + already on the ground with several inches still to come. Driving conditions are extremely hazardous with limited visibility and most streets still with a high snow cover. Blowing snow also creates a hazardous and unhealthy environment to be outdoors.

Citizens and residents are reminded to Stay Prepared, Stay Informed, Stay Safe and Stay Home.

Stay Prepared – This is the time to bring out your emergency kit and ensure fresh you have fresh batteries for your flashlights and radios.

Stay Informed – Listen to your local TV and radio stations for updated storm information. Access information on the internet. The Fire/EMS Department can be found at www.twitter.com/pgfdpio or at www.pgfdnews.com.

Stay Safe – Have a working smoke alarm, give space heaters space (at least 3-feet from anything combustible), use only seasoned logs in your chimney never leave cooking unattended and in the event you lose power – use flashlights instead of candles. Fire/EMS response will be slower during these extreme weather conditions – call 911 at the first indication of an emergency.

Stay Home – A State of Emergency has been declared – driving conditions are extremely dangerous. Enjoy the day at home and stay off the roads.

When you are allowed to drive – be careful, drive slow and look out for pedestrians that will use the roadways if sidewalks are not passable and children at play.

It has long been known that shoveling snow is an extremely strenuous task and has been known to cause heart attacks among those taking on the task. Many people underestimate just how strenuous shoveling snow can be. Cold temperatures can increase the viscosity, or thickness, of circulating blood. When combined with physical exertion, this increase in blood viscosity can raise the risks for clotting and heart attack. If you already have heart disease, shoveling can put you at even higher risk for cardiac complications.

The men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department offer the following advice in regards to shoveling snow:

If you have a history of heart problems, don’t shovel snow
If you are over age 40 and overweight, have high blood pressure, smoke or lead a sedentary lifestyle, check with your doctor even before lifting a shovel this winter.
Be a good neighbor. Visit your senior citizen neighbors and shovel their walk for them.
While your at it – clear the snow from around your fire hydrant!!!

If you do shovel snow here are some tips to make shoveling safer:

Always remember to dress warmly. You may be working up a sweat, but that doesn't mean you're immune to the effects of the cold.
There is no need to complete the task at one time. Take breaks every 15 minutes.
Go inside for some hot chocolate, but don't drink coffee. The caffeine may increase your heart rate and cause your blood vessels to constrict, just like smoking does.
Keep hydrated. Drink plenty of water.
And most importantly, know the warning signs of a heart attack. These may include chest pain, shoulder, neck or arm pain; dizziness, fainting, sweating or nausea; or shortness of breath. And if you think you're having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

Everyone should:

Learn CPR and how to use an AED
Immediate notification to 911 when conditions warrant
Ask if there is an AED available and use it
For information on CPR classes contact the Fire/EMS Department CPR Hotline at 301-864-LIVE (5483).

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