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Our View: Resolve to take care in the cold

With New Year’s Eve and severe cold

colliding in northern Minnesota this weekend, we encourage an abundance of care and caution. Temperatures this weekend will be 15 to 20 degrees below zero at night, with windchill at 35 below zero.

If you bring someone to their home — perhaps someone who has had too much to drink — please either walk them to the door or stay there long enough to make sure they make it safely inside. For those who don’t remember, there is a former University of Minnesota Duluth student who doesn’t have any fingers or toes because she passed out before she made it indoors. She lay on a porch for hours in frigid temperatures, and is lucky to be alive.

But even sober people can fall down in cold and icy weather, so we need to take extra care with everyone, including strangers. Take a few extra minutes to watch. If you’re the one who gets walked to the door, watch through the window to make sure your friend gets back to the car safely.

The National Weather Service tells us that people exposed to extreme cold are susceptible to frostbite in a matter of minutes. Areas most prone to frostbite are uncovered skin and the extremities, such as hands and feet. Hypothermia is another threat during extreme cold.

Worried yet? Anyone who owns a vehicle in Minnesota should have a safety kit that stays there for the winter, and now is the time to make sure your car is in good driving condition. Make sure it includes blankets, mittens, socks and hats. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety recommends stuffing an empty coffee can with small candles and matches, a small knife, plastic spoons, a red bandanna or cloth to tie onto your antenna if your car stalls, a large plastic garbage bag, safety pins, a whistle, snacks, a cellphone charger and a flashlight with extra batteries. Other good things to throw in the trunk include sleeping bags, flares, tow cables or a chain, sand or cat litter.

With care, caution and common sense, we can all survive and even thrive in the cold Northland, together.

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