Severe Winter

The Berrien County Office of Emergency Management wants individuals and families to be safe when faced with the hazards of cold temperatures. "Whether traveling or at home, subfreezing temperatures and wind chills can be dangerous and even life-threatening for people who don't take the proper precautions," said Capt. Rockey Adams, Emergency Management Coordinator. "We continue to urge people throughout the Midwest to monitor their local weather reports and take steps now to stay safe."

Being prepared for cold weather can save your life. know before you go.


preventing frostbite and hypothermia 

  • Frost bite is a severe reaction to cold exposure of the skin that can permanently damage your extremities such as the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of your nose. 
  • The following are warning signs of frostbite:
    • A white or grayish-yellow skin area
    • Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
    • Numbness
  • Hypothermia is a life threatening condition! Seek medical attention immediately. Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat. dangerous drop in body temperature. Hypothermia occurs when your temperature falls below 95 F. 
  • The following are warning signs of hypothermia: 
    • Shivering
    • Exhaustion or feeling very tired
    • Confusion
    • Fumbling hands
    • Memory loss
    • Slurred speech
    • Drowsiness
  • If medical care is not available, begin warming the person, as follows:
    • Get the victim into a warm room or shelter. 
    • If the victim has on any wet clothing, remove it. 
    • Warm the center of the body first-chest, neck, head, and groin-using an electric blanket, if available. Or use skin to skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets. 
    • Warm beverages can help increase the body temperature, but do not give alcoholic beverages. Do not give beverages to an unconscious person. 
    • After body temperature has increased, keep the person dry, and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck. 
    • Get medical attention as soon as possible. 

During cold weather, you should take the following precautions:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit your exposure to the cold;
  • Dress in layers and keep dry;
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance;
  • Know the symptoms of cold-related health issues such as frostbite and hypothermia and seek medical attention if health conditions are severe.
  • Bring your pets indoors or ensure they have a warm shelter area with unfrozen water.
  • Make sure your vehicle has an emergency kit that includes an ice scraper, blanket and flashlight - and keep the fuel tank above half full.
  • If you are asked to stay off the roads, stay home. If you must drive, don't travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule, have a charged cell phone, and stay on main roads.

You can find more information and tips on being ready for winter weather and extreme cold temperatures at