Brrrrrr. Recent cold freezes the county | SummitDaily.com
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Brrrrrr. Recent cold freezes the county

JENNIFER HUFFMAN

SUMMIT COUNTY – The cold snap delivering recent below zero temperatures to Summit County is causing several winter related problems for many residents and visitors, including unwanted health issues, burst pipes and frigid pets. Watching for signs of hypothermia and frostbite may not be at the forefront of skiers’ and riders’ minds as they’re plowing down the trails. However, preventative measures should be taken.According to Dr. Bernard Riberdy at the Breckenridge Medical Center, layering is key when being exposed to these extreme elements. Also, people should be aware of the signs of frostbite, such as limb numbness.”Often, people won’t pay attention to it, and they think they can fit in a couple more runs,” Dr. Riberdy said. “The limb may even start to feel better, but that’s when it can become dangerous.”Dr. Riberdy recommends going inside if any frostbite symptoms should appear. He also said to drink plenty of fluids, since dehydration can lead to hypothermia. Water and pipe issues can be repercussions from the winter weather as well. The Breckenridge water department faced two water main breaks, one Thursday and one Friday, on Peak 7 indirectly due to the frosty conditions. “The pipes were not installed properly 40 years ago to be able to withstand the winter weather,” said Gary Roberts, water division manager. “We see these problems from the time the frost gets here on Labor Day through Memorial Day.” Temperatures have dipped below 0 on recent nights, and Summit County high temperatures have stayed below freezing. Lake Dillon and Snake River Fire-Rescue offer some of the following suggestions and guidelines to help everyone avoid these problems. — Check that your thermostats are set properly to prevent freeze-ups, especially in those occupancies that are seasonally occupied or vacant. The recommended temperature for year-round residents is a minimum of 65 degrees. For seasonally occupied or vacant units, homeowners are recommended to keep a minimum of 58 degrees.– All homeowners should keep their garage doors shut to help prevent large heat loss.– Homeowners should have their hot water heaters, fireplaces and furnaces serviced on a yearly basis, especially before winter arrives in force.– If it hasn’t already been done, homeowners should detach any hoses from outdoor faucets and clear outside lines of water.– Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and make sure batteries are good and test to make sure they are in working order.– Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic, insulate walls and attics, and apply caulk and weather-stripping to doors and windows.– Have a contractor clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.– Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.– If the pipes freeze, seek professional help.Keeping pets inside and warm during these frigid days is also crucial.”Dogs that are left outside without being acclimated or having a heavy coat are very susceptible to hypothermia, frostbite and a lowered immune system,” said Nancy Ring, manager of the Summit County Animal Control and Shelter.According to Ring, pets should be brought inside in colder weather; however, if they must be left outside, the law requires that pets are provided with housing outdoors that substantially protects them from the wind and weather. Some working breeds like Siberian Huskies prefer to stay outside and are equipped to do so, but most are provided with huts to shelter them from the elements.Jennifer Huffman can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 248, or at jhuffman@summitdaily.com.


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