County Prepared for Winter Snow Emergencies

BARNSTABLE – From hurricanes to blizzards, the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee is the go-to local agency that is in charge of ensuring that the Cape is ready for any local emergencies, including those having to do with weather.

In a recent interview, County Emergency Planning officials Kevin Morley and Phil Burt and Dennis Police Chief Mike Whalen talk about emergency planning on the Cape:

With winter coming with a vengeance in the rest of the country and record snowfalls, Cape officials are also planning for the snowfall and cold temperatures that typically come blowing in with the winter season in New England.

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snowCounty officials say that Cape Codders should be proactive in their personal emergency planning by developing a “Plan A”, and an alternative “Plan B”. Plans for safety and survival in extreme winter weather or storms should include a communication plan, a transportation plan, a shelter plan, shelter-in-place plan, a medical plan, and a plan to take care of your pets, officials say.

After making plans, discuss them with neighbors, relatives, community groups and friends. Individuals should look at who might need help in their circle of contacts.

Public safety officials advise to put in your cell phone your “ICE” = In Case of Emergency contacts. Know how to get help and assistance when needed. Learn how to text! Simple text messages may be successful communication alternatives to phone calls. Download “Aps” (internet applications) for use on your smart phone, if you have one (i.e. First Aid, Shelter, Weather Alerts).

Officials also want residents to recognize the signs of hypothermia. When exposed to the cold, the body loses heat faster than it can produce it. This results in an abnormally low body temperature. It can also affect the brain, as you could be unable to think clearly or move well. You may not even know it is happening.

Among those at risk of hypothermia are elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heat. Babies sleeping in cold rooms. Adults under the influence of alcohol. Mentally ill individuals. People who remain outdoors for long periods of time; such as the homeless, hikers, or hunters.

The following are the warning signs of hypothermia:
Adults may experience:
– Shivering
– Exhaustion
– Confusion
– Fumbling Hands
– Memory Loss
– Slurred Speech
– Drowsiness

This is how to respond to hypothermia:
• Get the person into a warm room
• Remove wet clothing
• Warm the center of the body first, i.e. chest, neck, head, groin
• May use blankets, clothing, or skin to skin contact
• Give the person warm beverages only if they are conscious
• No alcoholic beverages!
• Get medical attention.