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Safety reminders ahead of brutal Maine cold spell

State and federal officials remind Mainers how to avoid frostbite, hypothermia as low wind chills enter the state.

MAINE, USA — As Maine prepares to see wind chills as low as 30 degrees below zero on Tuesday, agencies in the state are reminding residents how to stay safe and avoid issues like frostbite and hypothermia. 

Warming centers will be opening in several Maine counties to help keep folks out of the cold. Those interested can visit the Maine Emergency Management Agency website to find a location near them by clicking here. They can also dial 211. 

MEMA public information officer Vanessa Corson said that when exposed to frigid temperatures and high winds, the body loses warmth faster than it can generate heat, which could lead to hypothermia.

Another concern is frostbite, which occurs when the skin is exposed to frigid temperatures, causing the tissues to freeze. 

"If you have to go outside, make sure you dress in layers. Have a good base layer on, and then make sure that your head, your fingers, and your feet are well insulated," Corson said. Corson encouraged all Mainers to spend limited time outside during these frigid days. 

MEMA said people using alternate heat sources, like space heaters, need to check that their equipment is in proper working condition and installed correctly and must follow the manufacturer's guidelines. Heaters should be kept at least three feet from anything that can catch fire. 

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife wants those going outside to know it's essential to dress in layers. Do not allow the skin to be exposed to cold temps, and even take breaks from the cold when possible.

"Heading inside, whether it's your ice shack, or your car, or some stop along the snowmobile trail, is a great way to deal with this extreme cold," said MDIFW spokesperson Mark Latti. 

Latti and Corson also urged Mainers to bring all pets inside. MEMA recommends household pets be outside no longer than it takes them to relieve themselves. 

As for livestock, MEMA recommends moving animals into a barn to limit exposure to the cold. 

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