The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory for Western Massachusetts until 10 a.m. Jan. 24. This means that the wind chill index will reach -15 to -24 degrees for at least three hours. Frostbite can develop in only 30 minutes of exposure to windchill of -20. Given that many neurological disabilities make one more prone to conditions like hypothermia, it is even more important that such individuals bear the weather forecast in mind when making plans.
- If you are paratransit eligible, the next couple of days might be a good time to use that door-to-door future instead of waiting at a bus stop, where the lift may not work or weather conditions such as the possible snow fall on Friday might affect departure and arrival times. I know this service is more expensive than riding the fixed route buses, but what is $2 compared with the possibility of hours spent in the ER, followed by months of rehabilitation due to frostbite?
- Find warmer ways of getting what you need done done. For example, ask personal care assistants (PCA) or friends to drive you to places you normally walk or roll. Suggest that a teleconference might be as productive as going into the office, considering the cold snap. Remind your supervisor that if you get to cold you will be a less productive employee, because you will need a break to warm yourself up. The same goes for non-work meetings.
- Cancel nonessential plans.
- Really evaluate what essential means.
- If you truly must go outside bundle up. Dress in layers and don't forget to wear things like a hat and gloves.
- Listen to the local weather and pay attention to any warnings or advisories.
Be warm! Be smart! Be safe!