Cold weather prompts preparations throughout Roanoke Valley

ROANOKE, Va. – As temperatures drop, the risk for frostbite rises. 

At the Rescue Mission of Roanoke, staff are doing their best to make sure people in need have the items they need to stay safe. 

"We want to make sure everybody has the appropriate cold weather gear, hats, gloves scarves, coats. Any guest in need of those, we provide," said Tracy Altizer, chief development officer for Roanoke Rescue Mission. 

Doctors say if you're out in the elements, pay close attention to warning signs, paleness of the skin and pain that moves to numbness. Without medical treatment, hypothermia can set in. 

"The body temperature starts falling, we start seeing excessive shivering, patients can suddenly have memory loss, leading to confusion," said Dr. Ethan Freeborn, with LewisGale Medical Center.

When it's this cold, Dr. Freeborn encourages everyone to cover up as best they can. 

"If you're outside make sure that you're keeping skin covered because when the temperatures are as low as this, frostbite can start to set in in 30 minutes or less," said Dr. Freeborn. 

And when the weather warnings come, the mission makes sure its doors are open, no matter the situation or circumstance. 

"We have something called an amnesty flag. It's a white flag that we put out so even somebody who has had their services with us suspended, they can come inside and get out of the cold at night," said Altizer.

During this time of year, the mission is constantly giving out cold weather gear. 

If you would like to help out, the mission is in desperate need of gloves, especially men's.