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First Responders, Residents And Pets Brace For Frigid Weather

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The chill has returned, and that means the dangers of frigid temperatures are back too.

Executive Director of North Huntingdon EMS/Rescue Shane Spielvogle said first responders always worry about nights when temperatures reach zero and how it could affect residents. They want people to take deep freezes seriously.

"The big thing is to try to limit your time outside when it's this cold, this dangerously cold. Even when you don't feel like you're being affected, you very well could be. Keep your head covered, try to keep your skin covered as much as possible, dress in multiple warm layers, stay dry," said Spielvogle.

Layer up if you must be outside for any reason.

"I've got two pairs of sweatpants on and probably about four shirts, including this jacket," said Paul Perez, who brought his dog to the dog park in downtown Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.

"Leggings, fleece, vest, jacket, gloves are essential, or your fingers will freeze," said Laura Gevarter, who brought her two dogs to the park.

Even dogs were bundled up with sweaters and booties at the downtown dog park.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"His little paws, I just put boots on him, so I don't have to carry him when his paws get too cold," said Jakeisha Stanton, who brought her dog to the dog park.

These dog owners know when they've been outside long enough.

"Numb, it's almost time to leave, my fingers and toes are starting. I can't feel them anymore. These guys need to wrap up their playing soon, but they're having a good time," Gevarter said.

They always look forward to going inside to warm up.

"Hot chocolate, soup and plenty of blankets," said Perez.

Spielvogle said officials worry about people using alternative heating sources and advise people to heat homes safely to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

"Alternative heat sources that are not intended to heat a home, the flame can be incomplete and put out carbon monoxide ​gas, which is colorless, tasteless," he said.

Spielvogle said if someone is showing signs of confusion or stops shivering when they are cold, they could have hypothermia. He said if anyone starts feeling a tingling sensation in their fingers or toes, it could be the start of frostbite.

"The thing you want to stay away from is soaking them immediately in hot or warm water. The best thing to do is to get out of the cold into a warm place, get the cold, wet clothing or gloves off and make sure that area is dry or warm. Then seek medical help," Spielvogel said.

Spielvogle said if you don't have heat, you should contact your local emergency services or call 2-1-1 to get heating assistance or to find a place to get warm.

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