Health Department urges residents to stay safe during storm


The RI Health Department is urging all Rhode Islanders to stay safe during the pending blizzard.

As much as a foot or more of snow is anticipated to fall across the region Tuesday, accompanied by heavy winds, creating blizzard conditions throughout the day Tuesday. Check here for the latest storm-related information, including forecasts and closings and cancellations.

The Health Department has issued the following tips for all Rhode Islanders to stay healthy and safe during the winter storm:

Snow Shoveling

  • Talk to your doctor if you have a history of heart trouble to make sure it is safe for you to shovel snow.   
  • Take it slow - pace yourself and take breaks. Stop if you feel tired or feel tightness in your chest.
  • Don’t pick up too much snow at once. Use a smaller shovel, or only fill the shovel part way if you use a large shovel.
  • Push the snow as you shovel—it is easier on your back.
  • Protect your back. Bend from the knees, and lift with your legs bent. Stand with your feet about hip width apart for good balance, and keep the shovel close to your body.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Dress warmly, and dress in several layers so you can remove a layer if needed.

Extreme Cold

  • The elderly are especially susceptible to extremely cold temperatures. Check on elderly friends, family, or neighbors frequently.
  • Dress warmly, even if you are just making a short trip to the mailbox. If you fall or a door locks behind you, you could be exposed for a longer period of time than you planned.
  • Dress warmly even when you are inside—especially if you do not move a lot.
  • Remove clothing if it gets damp or wet. Wet clothing can make you more prone to hypothermia.

Power outages

  • If the power goes out, you can store food outside safely when the outside temperature is below 45°F. Place your food in a shady spot away from direct sunlight and in a container.
  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat your house and do not use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern or portable camping stove inside your house.
  • If you need to use a generator, make sure it is properly installed and vented.


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