Cold Weather Safety

Texas weather can be unpredictable.  One day could be 90°F and sunny and the next day will be 30°and icy.  As the temperature drop, there are some cold weather safety tips you should consider before heading outdoors.

  • Pay attention to the weather forecast. Be prepared for any weather-related emergencies.  Check the SMU website, Twitter, and Facebook for notifications regarding inclement weather update.
  • Avoid walking on ice or sleet. If you notice any slick or icy spots on campus, contact SMU Facilities at 214-768-7000.
  • Do not pour HOT water on your windshield to remove ice or snow. Hot water may cause your windshield to crack and/or shatter.
  • Dress in layers of loss-fitting, lightweight, and warm clothing. Three layers of clothing are recommend.
    • Inner layer: Fabrics such as wool, silk or polypropylene are better at maintaining body heat than cotton.
    • Insulation layer: This layer will help with maintaining body heat.  Wool or fleece materials work best as insulation.
    • Outer layer: Water and wind resistant clothing are prefer to protect you from wind, rain, and snow.
  • Wear a hat, scarf, and mittens. Mittens are warmer than gloves.
  • Stay dry by wearing water-resistant coat and boots. Wet clothing can drop your body temperature quickly.
  • Avoid long-term exposure to the cold temperature. Watch for signs and symptoms of hypothermia.
  • If you must work outdoor, dress warmly and work slowly. Be sure to remove extra layers of clothing when you are sweating.  Sweating can lower the body temperature.

What is Hypothermia?

Hypothermia occurs when the body is exposed to cold temperature for long periods of time.  The body’s inability to produce body heat to compensate for this long-term exposure can cause dangerously low body temperature to the sufferer.  Hypothermia typically effects the elderly, children or individuals who have prolonged exposure to the cold environment.

Signs and symptoms of hypothermia:

  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of motor function
  • Shivering
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Cardiac arrest

What to do in cases of hypothermia emergency:

  • Get medical attention immediately. Contact SMU PD at 214-768-3333 or call 911.
  • Slowly and carefully get the individual inside a warm environment.
  • Gently remove wet clothing.
  • Warm the person gradually and slowly. Rapid warming may cause hypovolemic shock from a sudden drop in blood pressure.

If you have any other questions and/or concerns, please contact us at RiskManagement@smu.edu or 214-768-2083.

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/duringstorm/outdoorsafety.html

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.html

https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/sfttps/tp201101-eng.aspx

https://www.weather.gov/media/aly/PSAs/ExtremeCold.pdf

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