This Citizen Corps News Digest is provided by FEMA's Individual & Community Preparedness Division to highlight community preparedness and resilience resources and activities recently announced by federal agencies and Citizen Corps partners.

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Recognize and Treat Frostbite

Prevent Jack Frost from biting you with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Freezing temperatures may cause frostbite if you are outside for too long. Frostbite is a bodily injury caused by freezing that results in loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases may lead to amputation. The risk of frostbite increases in people with reduced blood circulation and those not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures.

At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin—frostbite may be beginning. Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite:

  • White or grayish-yellow skin area.
  • Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy.
  • Numbness.

As soon as you detect the symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care. First, determine whether the victim also shows signs of hypothermia .  Hypothermia is a more serious medical condition and requires emergency medical assistance. If there is frostbite but no sign of hypothermia and immediate medical care is not available, proceed as follows:

  • Get into a warm room as soon as possible.
  • Do not rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it at all. This can cause more damage.
  • Unless absolutely necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes as this increases the damage.
  • Immerse the affected area in warm—not hot—water (the temperature should be comfortable to the touch for unaffected parts of the body).
  • Do not use a heating pad, heat lamp, or the heat of a stove, fireplace, or radiator for warming. Affected areas are numb and can be easily burned.

Taking preventive action is your best defense against having to deal with extreme cold-weather conditions. For more information on frostbite, visit the CDC's Frostbite page.


Snow Shoveling Hazards

With winter weather upon us and many areas experiencing snowfall, learn how to stay safe while shoveling.

According to the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, more than 11,000 people visit emergency rooms each year due to overexertion and injury, while nearly 100 people die every year from heart attacks brought on by shoveling snow.

Stay safe when going outdoors this winter with precautions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention :

  • Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor's advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold.
  • Dress warmly and work slowly. Your body is already working hard just to stay warm, so do not overdo it.
  • Stay dry. Wet clothing chills the body rapidly. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm.
  • Do not ignore shivering. It is an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.
  • Many cold-weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered sidewalks, steps, driveways, and porches. Keep your steps and walkways as free of ice as possible by using rock salt or another chemical de-icing compound. You may also consider using sand on walkways to reduce the risk of slipping.

When shoveling, the U.S. Fire Administration also recommends that you keep snow and ice three feet from fire hydrants so firefighters can quickly access them in case of fire. Find more winter safety information in the How to Prepare for a Winter Storm guide.


Free Preparedness Resources

Renew your preparedness program for the New Year with free preparedness materials.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Individual and Community Preparedness Division offers print materials at no cost. These include Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training Manuals, Youth Preparedness Curriculum, and other preparedness resources. Here are a few tips to help you with your order: 

  • Use the Individual and Community Preparedness Print Publications form to make orders by email, mail, phone or fax.
  • Some publications have order limits. If you are interested in ordering more than the limit, provide a brief description as to your need for the publication.
  • CERT publications that specify ‘All Orders Require Approval' mean that you must have a registered CERT team to receive these publications.

To review the available materials, visit the Resources page. 


Important Dates to Remember


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