In addition to the ice and snow forecast with today's winter storm, cold and dangerous temperatures are expected, weather officials said.
Lara O'Leary, spokeswoman for Emergency Medical Services Authority, said with that in mind, Oklahomans need to be aware that serious injuries and illness could occur if proper steps aren't taken.
EMSA medics advise extreme caution and urge residents to stay inside until it is safe to drive or walk on driveways and sidewalks.
During the previous ice storm, 64 people fell and had to call 911 because of ice, O'Leary said. People are encouraged to wear shoes with traction, dress in layers and wear a hat to absorb the impact of fall, she said. They also are urged to carry a cell phone.
Dress infants and children in several layers to keep them dry and warm. Don't forget warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat. The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.
Hypothermia develops when someone's temperature falls below normal because of exposure to colder temperatures. It often happens when adults and children are outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults. As hypothermia sets in, the person may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy. Speech may become slurred and body temperature will decline in more severe cases.
If you suspect someone has hypothermia, call 911 immediately, O'Leary said. Move that person indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him or her in blankets or warm clothes until help arrives.
Also, O'Leary reminds the public that frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen. This condition tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears and nose.
Safety for pets
It's also important that Oklahomans provide safe conditions for their pets. The Humane Society of the United States urges pet owners not to leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops.
Wind chills are expected to be very low during this storm, potentially threatening a pet's life. If a pet does go outside, paws should be wiped dry of snow, ice and any possible corrosive material, such as melting salt, once the animal returns indoors.
If a dog spends significant time outdoors, the pet must be protected by a dry, draft-free doghouse that is large enough for the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in its body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Certain breeds, especially those with thin skin or very short fur, should be brought indoors.
Pets spending a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check a pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal. The Humane Society urges that if you're feeding homeless cats, be sure to provide an insulated shelter for them.