2008-01-25 / Community

VNR Cold Weather Safety Tips

With the frigid winter weather here, VNR Home Care Services urges New Yorkers to take proper precautions to stay safe and warm. Simple mistakes can lead to potentially dangerous, lifethreatening conditions.

"The extreme cold can pose major health hazards for all of us, even the young and healthy," said Maxine Hochhauser, President and CEO of VNR. "Whether it's dressing appropriately, understanding how to heat your home, or who to call in an emergency, simply being prepared is the ultimate key to staying healthy in Arctic-like temperatures."

As a leading provider of home health care services in the metropolitan region, VNR offers the following important advice to ensure that all New Yorkers stay warm and safe this winter: Keeping Safely Warm In The Home

Never use your oven to heat your house. Oven heat dries out your skin, your nose and mouth. Gases from the stove can cause headaches and can even be fatal.

Seal up drafty windows by hanging drapes or covering them with plastic. These two measures can help reduce drafts and increase the temperature of your home.

Protect against house fires. Keep curtains away from heaters. Be sure that extension cords are in good condition and are also kept safely away from heaters.

Keep a fire extinguisher in the house at all times.

Your body temperature drops at night. Consider wearing long underwear and socks to bed. Use flannel sheets or extra blankets.

Be sure your space heater is in a spot where it can't tip over. Make sure it is out of the pathway from bed to bathroom.

Keeping Warm Outside

In cold weather, wear layers (wool is best) and keep your head covered.

If you have a respiratory disease like asthma or emphysema, keep your mouth and nose covered.

Ask your doctor or nurse about possible side-effects of your prescription medications. Certain medicines affect your body temperature.

Avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol will actually lead to a decrease in body temperature.

Keep your baby warm. Babies get cold very easily. Dress a baby as you would yourself plus one item. Always cover the baby's head.

Important Phone Numbers

Your landlord must provide heat from October 1 through May 31 if the temperature outside is below 55ºF during the day and below 40ºF at night. If the heating system in your home fails, call New York City's Citizen's Service Center at 3-1-1. For the hard of hearing: 212-504-4115.

Senior citizens may be eligible for help paying electrical and heating bills.

For more information, call Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), NYC Department of Aging at (212) 442-1000.

In cases of a health or home emergency, call 9-1-1.

VNR Home Care Services would also like to remind everyone to check in on elderly neighbors and family as they are more susceptible to the dangers of extreme weather conditions.

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