Ronald Brien, of Woonsocket, is bundled up against the frigid weather as he pauses while walking along Pond Street Wednesday. The temperature at the time the picture was taken was 14 degrees and dropping. (Photo/Ernest A. Brown)
State and local officials urged residents to take precautions as dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills were forecast for the region through the weekend.
They also advised those at risk of exposure to take shelter at warming centers, including the Woonsocket Senior Center, 84 Social St. The site is open from 1-4 p.m. daily through Friday.
â€śDress warmly, in layers, even if you are making a short trip to the mailbox,â€ť advised Woonsocket Emergency Management Director Gary Lataille.
Other tips for dealing with the cold include:
â€˘ Dress warmly even indoors, especially if you do not move a lot.
â€˘ Set the indoor temperature according to whatâ€™s right for you. What is an acceptable, fuel-saving temperature for an active family may not be safe for an older person who has difficulty moving or takes certain medications.
â€˘ Check on friends, family and neighbors who might be at risk, especially the elderly and infirm.
â€˘ Remove clothing thatâ€™s damp or wet; wet clothing can make you more prone to hypothermia.
â€˘ Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Symptoms of frostbite can include loss of feeling and loss of color and usually happens on the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Symptoms of hypothermia in adults can include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, drowsiness, or slurred speech. In infants, symptoms of hypothermia can include bright red, cold skin and low energy.
â€˘ Avoid alcohol; it lowers the bodyâ€™s ability to retain heat.
â€˘ Make sure your car is winterized and is equipped with good tires.
â€˘ Call 511 or visit www.tmc.dot.ri.gov for current road conditions.