Cold Weather Protective Clothing

Posted at 4 p.m.

With a wind chill advisory in effect from 6 p.m. tonight until 6 p.m. Tuesday night — and temperatures in Fairfax County around 6 degrees above tonight (wind chill values as low as 12 degrees below after midnight) and highs on Tuesday only around 15 degrees (wind chill values as low as 14 degrees below), — Wally Simmons, loss prevention manager, Fairfax County Risk Management Division, says that it is critical to plan ahead if you have to work or be outside in cold weather (such as waiting for a Fairfax Connector bus).

Simmons says that protective clothing is the most important way to be prepared. The type of fabric makes a difference. Cotton loses its insulation value when it becomes wet. Wool, silk and most synthetics, on the other hand, retain their insulation even when wet.


Simmons adds that in addition to being dressed correctly, you should drink plenty of liquids, avoiding caffeine and alcohol. It is easy to become dehydrated in cold weather.

If possible, heavy work should be scheduled during the warmer parts of the day. Also, try to work in pairs to keep an eye on each other and watch for signs of cold stress. Avoid fatigue since energy is needed to keep muscles warm. Take frequent breaks and consume warm, high calorie food such as pasta to maintain energy reserves.

Learn more about winter weather, snow and cold temperatures on our emergency preparedness Web page.

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