With one of the coldest winters in over 30 years, Chief of Police and Safety Robert Kuhn warns the student body to be careful of hypothermia when outside.
“One of the most important things to remember in this weather is to dress appropriately and be careful,” Kuhn said. “Especially when drinking. If there’s one thing to learn from the recent death at Gannon, it’s that.”
The Gannon student, Abbrielle M. Brynda, 21, was a nursing student found on Feb. 3 in an Erie alleyway with signs of hypothermia after attending a party the night before. She is one of three young adults to die from hypothermia in Erie this year.
One of Kuhn’s primary concerns is students getting hypothermia when under the influence of alcohol.
“Alcohol makes you feel warmer, but in reality it takes heat away from your body making it much easier to freeze,” he said.
“Students need to know how important it is to stay together when they are out drinking. Getting separated can be dangerous when the weather is this cold.”
“Under conditions this harsh, it is very easy for students to end up with hypothermia,” Kuhn said.
Kuhn’s recommendations to students who are determined not to let the nasty weather get in the way of their drinking are to “don’t stay still, and whatever you do, don’t fall asleep outside.”
Signs of hypothermia include clumsiness or lack of coordination, slurred speech or mumbling, or when shivering stops—shivering is actually a sign that a person’s heat regulation systems are still active.
Some other signs of hypothermia are confusion and drowsiness.
If you are out and get separated from your friends, please call Police and Safety.
They will pick you up and take you home without writing up the student up for drinking.
“Our main concern is keeping the students here safe,” Kuhn said.
Police and Safety can be reached at 814-824-2304.