Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency

EMA advises residents on cold weather safety

Temple urges residents to check on neighbors
Posted:  Friday, December 29, 2017 - 11:30am

Lincoln County is facing some of the coldest weather of the season, a little earlier than usual. In addition to the Christmas Day snowstorm and ice storm, a blast of Arctic air has held the county in a deep freeze since the day after Christmas. According to the National Weather Service, Maine will face subfreezing and subzero temperatures, and severe wind chills, until late the week of Jan. 1. Even when the worst of the weather breaks, temperatures are not expected to go above 20 degrees for the foreseeable future. The average temperature in late December and early January is in the 30s.

Because the cold happened so early, and in a busy holiday season, not everyone was quite prepared for it. Due to holiday decorating and lighting, many storm windows, weatherstripping around doors and windows, and plastic insulation on internal windows haven't been put on yet. Lincoln County Emergency Management said if such preparations haven’t yet been done, now is definitely the time.

No warming stations have been set up in the county, because no one has asked for one, EMA Deputy Director Melissa Temple said. But as the cold temperatures continue and frozen pipes become a problem for many, warming stations may be set up if people need them for hot water and showers.

“If people need that kind of help they should contact us at 882-7559,” she said. "Beyond that, people should take sensible precautions. Wear layers and coats, hats, gloves, and scarves outside, and be aware that, especially with the wind chills, frostbite can set in in as little as 30 minutes. If your outerwear gets wet, come inside immediately and change it. When driving, make sure you have extra clothes, food, and water in case your car is disabled or involved in an accident and you have to walk for help. Keep your mobile phones charged, and be aware that the cold weather can cause a lithium ion battery to fail, so don't leave your phone – or your laptop — in your car."

Pets should not remain outside for long periods, either. Shorter walks during the worst of the brutal cold won't harm dogs, and cats should remain indoors for the duration.

With ice on power lines and trees unlikely to melt any time soon, Mainers should also prepare for possible power outages, especially if the wind kicks up.  That means having alternative sources of heat and light and cooking, such as wood stoves, propane heaters, camp stoves, and oil lamps, just in case. Make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries; if they are not working, replace them. Keep three days' worth of ready to heat food and water on hand, and don't forget food and water for pets and livestock. Temple said if conditions change and warming stations are opened, they would be announced through local media, on the Lincoln County EMA Facebook page,  and the Lincoln County EMA website. "I’d also ask everyone to check on  neighbors, especially elderly neighbors, and make sure that people are prepared.”