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Neighborhood Safety

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Safety First for Kids

Hey, kids!  Winter can be a fun-filled time when enjoying outdoor activities such as skiing, skating and sledding. However, before going out, follow these safety tips:

  1. The best way to stay safe in a snowstorm is to stay inside. Long periods of exposure to severe cold increases the risk of frostbite or hypothermia.
  2. If you go out to play after a winter storm, dress in many layers of clothing and wear a hat and mittens. Many layers of thin clothing are warmer than a single layer of thick clothing. One of the best ways to stay warm is to wear a hat; most body heat is lost through the top of the head.
  3. Come inside often for warm-up breaks.
  4. If you start to shiver a lot or get very tired, or if your nose, fingers, toes or earlobes start to feel numb or turn very pale, come inside right away and tell an adult. These are signs of hypothermia and frostbite. If you experience these symptoms, you will need immediate attention to prevent further risk.

Remember these tips when you go out to play.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

If someone you know is elderly or dependent on life-sustaining or health-related equipment such as a ventilator, respirator or oxygen concentrator, you should make plans now to ensure their needs are met during severe winter weather and possible power outages.

  1. Help them stock a home disaster kit including a flashlight and extra batteries, a battery-operated radio, bottled water, non-perishable foods, essential medicines, and extra blankets or sleeping bags.
  2. Check on them after a storm or power outage. Register them as a special needs customer with their utility so they will become a priority customer. Notify others who could provide help such as neighbors, relatives, nearby friends and local emergency responders such as the fire department.
  3. Have a list of emergency numbers readily available.
  4. Have a standby generator or an alternative source of power available. Be aware of the safety rules for its use.

Protecting Pets

Winter is a time we should pay close attention to the safety of our pets. Here are some safety tips to follow:

  1. Ingesting anti-freeze can be fatal for your dog or cat. It has a sweet taste and even a tiny amount can cause severe kidney damage and even death. If you spill some, soak it up immediately. (Clay kitty litter works well. Discard the litter once the anti-freeze has been absorbed.)
  2. Pets that live outdoors should be fed a bit more in the winter because they need the extra calories to stay warm. They also should have fresh water put out a couple of times a day, or consider a special bowl that prevents the water from freezing.
  3. If your pet goes outdoors, be aware of the temperature. Pets can get frostbite very easily on the ears, tail and paws.
  4. When walking your dog, check the paws to make sure that ice is not building up between the toes and that salt from the roads is not irritating the skin.
  5. If your dog is a swimmer, keep it on a leash around open water or unstable ice. Hypothermia can set in quickly and the dog may be unable to get out of the water.
  6. Before you start your car, you should honk the horn to make sure that a cat has not decided to nap in a warm spot under the hood of the vehicle.
  7. If decorating for the holidays, keep ornaments out of the reach of your pets. Remember that poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and other plants can be toxic if ingested.