Are You Ready for Old Man Winter’s Bite? [Photo Gallery]

Temperatures are plummeting across the country, some going as low as 40 below zero with wind chills. Even residents in states such as Florida and Georgia who normally don’t experience extreme cold are feeling winter’s bite.

Regardless of where you live, most of us likely will be exposed to severe winter weather at some point in our lives (Read The Fight Against Frostbite). Here are some sobering facts about cold weather’s impact on us:

  • More than 600 weather-related deaths occur each year, with 25 percent due to temperature extremes.
  • An average of 11,500 injuries requiring medical treatment occur each year from shoveling – more than half from exertion, 20 percent from falls and nearly 7 percent from cardiac problems.
  • Inside the home, 50 percent of home heating fires are reported in December, January and February. 

As the weather turns frigid, the National Safety Council urges Americans to take precautions to stay warm and safe. “Winter weather brings a whole new set of safety challenges both inside and outside of the home,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of NSC. “Planning ahead and making the proper adjustments can keep families safe until temperatures warm back up.”

Follow these tips to stay safe in severe cold weather:

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