Firefighters Warn You To Prepare For Cold Weather - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Firefighters Warn You To Prepare For Cold Weather

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MISSOULA -

The sub zero temperatures don't always stop Montanans from spending time outdoors, but experts said the cold weather could be dangerous, and even life threatening.

Below freezing temps, didn't stop Diane Wells-Cherry, and her dog, Cody, from getting outside on Monday.

"I like to be out with him, and of course there's no stopping dogs. He's an active dog and needs to be out getting his excessive."

Wells-Cherry wasn't the only person to enjoy Montana's great outdoors.

"I saw several joggers, I even saw several people with shorts on," Wells-Cherry said.

Missoula firefighters said if you're not prepared, being outside in this weather could be dangerous, and even life-threatening.

"Severe hypothermia is a severe situation, with frost nip and frost bites you could loose a toe a finger, and arm," said Missoula Fire Department Training Officer, Matt Kerns.

These may sound extreme but Kerns said there's different phases of each condition, leading to the worst case scenario.

"Hypothermia starts with shivering, confusion, and then once you loose the shivering that's the triggering point," said Kerns.

He said frost bite starts as frost nip.

"Your skin gets waxy, you have white spots on your cheeks, and your toes and fingers get tingly," Kerns said.

Kerns said people in the back country aren't the only ones at risk for these conditions, when the weather gets severely cold.

"If that winds starts picking up around that zero degrees its time to start layering up or maybe avoiding exposure outside," Kerns said. "Layering is the key, it sounds repetitive, but layering is important."

Kerns said if you're heading outdoors, avoid cottons when you're layering, wear hats and gloves. He adds recreators should be aware of the wind chill, drink plenty of warm fluids, and take breaks from the cold.

The first tip according to the Montana Red Cross, don't start an outdoor activity in the cold unless you know you can get help quickly in the event of an emergency.

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