As many Hoosiers say, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait a couple minutes and it will change.” Last week was the perfect example of this, considering that in two days the temperature dropped more than 40 degrees, going from spring-like to bitter cold.
Laws and the Weather
There are many who have a difficult time staying safe and warm during the winter months. As a strong advocate for children and families, I am especially concerned for the welfare of those who need a little extra help staying warm.
Children are especially susceptible to the dangers of extreme cold. To keep your kids safe in cold conditions, dress them in removable layers including a hat and make sure their hands and feet stay warm and dry. If they get too warm, they may not register the severity of true cold temperatures and stay outside longer than they should. Make sure wet clothes are removed as soon as your kids come inside and check them for signs of frostbite when the temperature is 20 degrees or below.
Ensuring that children know what to do if they are left home alone during a two-hour delay or if school is let out early is also important. Make sure you have a contingency plan and know who will watch your children if this situation arises. Your child should know who they are allowed to go home with and should be equipped with a spare key in case of emergency.
Kids are not the only group endangered by harsh winter conditions. An article in the Huffington Post last month highlighted the perils of extreme cold for the homeless. Many shelters extend their hours of operation and max out their capacity to help as many people as possible, but too many are still left out in the cold.
There are many organizations you can donate to or even volunteer with if you are so inclined. Here are a few websites with links on how to help:
Our community also has several outreach locations to assist those in need. The Connersville Salvation Army, Richmond Hope House, Batesville Food Pantry and Oldenburg Sister of St. Francis are just a few organizations that exist to help those in need.
Laws passed at the Statehouse can only go so far. It is up to people like you and me to take action and reach out a helping hand. The time is now to get engaged and make a difference in someone’s life. February is Feeding Indiana’s Hungry month, so you will hear more about what you can do to help in the next few weeks.
As always, I encourage you to contact me with any questions or comments you may have. I can be reached by phone at 317-232-9850 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Rep. Cindy Ziemke serves as Vice Chairman of the Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee and the Select Committee on Government Reduction. Rep. Ziemke represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.