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Staying safe in bitter cold

Freezing thermometer
Freezing thermometer

UNDATED (WRN)  Most of Wisconsin is expected to see record low temperatures today, and state officials are urging anyone who has to leave home to use caution. Wind chills in parts of the state are expected to register in the minus 40 degree range or possibly even lower, while air temperatures will also be well below zero statewide.

Tod Pritchard with Wisconsin Emergency Management says everyone should try to limit their time outdoors as much as possible, breaking out the heaviest and warmest clothes they have and making sure as much skin is covered as possible. In these types of temperatures, Pritchard says it does not take long for frostbite or hypothermia to set in, especially when directly exposed to the wind.

Pritchard says those traveling on the roads should make sure to pack an emergency kit, just in case they get stuck or their car will not start because of the extreme cold. Kits should include blankets, some extra food, and a cell phone charger.

Carbon monoxide can pose a greater risk during cold snaps, as people take extra steps to keep their homes warm. Pritchard says you should take the time to check or install carbon monoxide detectors, in order to provide an extra warning in the event of a leak from a heating device.