Health officials ask Mississippians to prepare for upcoming cold snap

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Mississippi is in store for a round of severely cold weather and the state health department is urging folks to take safety precautions ahead of time.

According to the National Weather Service, residents of north Mississippi could face single-digit temperatures next week. Meanwhile, those in the central and southern parts of the state are expected to see low temperatures in the teens.

The conditions run the risk of causing power outages, frozen pipes, iced-over roads, and possible dangers to individuals’ health. With that in mind, the Mississippi State Department of Health is offering some advice to have people as prepared as possible.

In the event of a power outage, experts recommend for folks to stock up on canned goods and other items that do not require refrigeration.

A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours. If an outage lasts longer, for food items typically stored in the refrigerator or freezer, it is recommended to place them in a cooler surrounded by ice.

To prepare for frozen pipes or even a boil-water alert, residents are encouraged to have safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene — including bottled, boiled, or treated water.

Those under a boil-water alert are instructed not to use contaminated water to wash dishes, brush teeth, wash and prepare food, wash hands, make ice, or make baby formula.

In order to prevent frozen or burst pipes, keeping faucets dripping is the most efficient solution in preventing any damage that could be avoided.

Health concerns always arise during excessively cold temperatures. The MSDH is advising residents to watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite — a feeling of “pins and needles” followed by numbness. Avoiding outdoor elements and consuming warm beverages that do not contain alcohol or caffeine are the best ways to prevent hypothermia and frostbite.

While travel is highly discouraged during severely cold weather, some will be required to be on the road. Officials ask for those who will be driving in the elements to observe travel warnings while also commuting efficiently, only making necessary stops, and avoiding bridges if possible.

Once the low temperatures are reached, MSDH officials encourage Mississippians to adhere to the following tips for home safety purposes:

  • Do not use generators, gas, or charcoal grills indoors.
  • Never burn anything in a stove or fireplace that is not vented properly.
  • Never heat your house with a gas oven.
  • Never run a generator indoors, in an enclosed space such as a basement, or near a window.
  • Do not warm your car up in a closed garage.
  • If your garage is attached to your house, close the door to the house while you warm up the car.

For more winter weather preparedness information, click here.

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