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"Prepare. Respond. Recover. It's time to get Ready LA" - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Despite all the sunshine, don’t get rid of that raincoat or umbrella just yet! Los Angeles is a semi-desert area of mountains, canyons, ravines and vast basins, the perfect setting or disaster when major thunderstorms, high winds and other inclement weather strikes. Flooding can quickly occur in the mountain passes and valleys, while hillsides with sparse vegetation become prime starting points for treacherous mudslides. For the most part, the area’s weather is mild and sunny so it is easy to forget how quickly a storm system can change the landscape… and send you running for cover!

Extreme Cold

The cold hard facts
  • Extreme cold can cause the body's temperature to lower dramatically, causing hypothermia and even death.
  • Distances are often distorted by blowing snow, so a shelter that appears to be near may be farther than it looks.
  • Space heaters are a common cause of fires during winter and should be kept at least three feet from drapes and furniture.
  • Eating snow lowers your body temperature and should not be used for liquid nourishment.
  • Typically, areas with the mildest winters have higher death rates from cold than those with colder winters, primarily because of poor preparation and information on how to stay warm.
Make your preparations now
pack of snow
You may be relaxing at the beach, with the sand between your toes and an umbrella shading you from the sun, but there's no better time to start preparing for the winter months ahead. Here are some things you can do to make sure your home is adequately equipped against cold weather.

  • Insulate your walls and attic.
  • Weather-strip all doors and windows.
  • If you have a chimney, get it inspected at least once every two years.
  • Install an easy-to-read outdoor thermometer.
  • Make sure your heating system is operating properly.

Tips for fighting the cold
woman with coat and scarf
When the temperature goes down, keep your cool and act in a logical, calm manner. Obviously, the best place to be when a winter storm hits is inside, but you may get caught outside or in your car because of unavoidable circumstances. So let's look at your best options in all of these places.

Tips for Inside your Home

  • Keep your home heated, either with central heating, a furnace or fireplace, but remember that all of these items can become safety hazards if not in good working order. Don't overheat as this wastes fuel.
  • Use proper ventilation for your heating elements.
  • Wear enough clothing so that you are comfortable without feeling overheated.
  • Eat regularly and drink ample fluids.
  • Listen to your radio or television for the latest weather and emergency information.

Tips for Outside Activities

  • Wear dry, layered clothing, including a hat and gloves to maintain proper body heat.
  • Keep your mouth covered to protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
  • Carry snack food and water if you are going to be outside for a prolonged period.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia such as uncontrollable shivering, drowsiness, slurred speech and disorientation.
  • Be aware of frostbite signs, including loss of feeling and/or white or pale appearances in extremities such as your fingers, toes, ear lobes and tip of nose.
  • If hypothermia or frostbite is suspected, get to a warm location as soon as possible, warm the center of your body with non-alcoholic, non-caffeine liquids and seek medical help.

Tips for Driving

  • Try to travel only during the day and keep others aware of your schedule.
  • Constantly maintain at least a half-tank of gas during winter months.
  • Carry a winter emergency kit in your car.
  • If you become trapped in a blizzard, turn on your hazard lights and hang some sort of distress flag from your antenna.
  • If trapped, remain in your car where rescuers are more likely to find you. Only set out on foot if you can see a building or adequate shelter nearby.

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