Stay warm with buses and winter clothing

Christina Tesar

With the low temperatures “Old Man Winter” brought this past week, there may be a safer solution for students than walking around campus – taking a Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority bus, said Frank Hairston, PARTA’s marketing equal employment officer and customer service director.

“We add an extra loop (during the winter season),” Hairston said. “We provide PARTA’s services for the convenience of our riders.”

PARTA provides more than 18 different bus routes to students and Portage County residents, including a campus loop that stops at numerous places around Kent State’s campus. All bus services are available free of charge to Kent State students and staff members with a Kent State ID.

Ted Grace, director of student health services at Ohio State University, said in cold weather, transportation is crucial.

“It becomes unsafe for students to walk outside when the wind chill factor falls below a negative degree,” he said, adding that bus transportation makes getting around campus not only convenient but safe.

When temperatures fall between zero and negative-20 degrees, Grace said, students are safe outside for less than an hour if no skin is exposed, but frostbite is still a possibility. If skin is exposed or clothing is too thin, a person may experience frostbite within as little as one minute.

“Riding in buses will protect students from the wind chill and even allow them to warm up their core body temperatures,” Grace said.

But even if students choose to take the bus instead of venturing out on foot, the wind and cold can still pose a threat to those waiting at bus stops who don’t dress properly.

Grace provided tips for dressing for maximum warmth during the winter season whether trekking through the snow or waiting for the bus.

Plan from head to toe, Grace said, and dress in layers:

• First layer: provides insulation and moves moisture away from the skin, preventing chill when activity stops. Choose long underwear or thin, snug-fitting pants with a long sleeved T-shirt or turtleneck. Wool stays warm whether you’re wet or dry.

• Second layer: Sweaters, sweatshirts, and other similar garments are good insulators, and some newer insulating pieces are also suitable as an outer shell in milder weather. Good fit is crucial. If the shell is too big, heat loss can occur rapidly.

• Outer shell: Choose garments that are windproof and waterproof, such as those made of coated nylon or polyester. Many shells, such as ski-style jackets or parkas, combine the outer and insulating layers.

• Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.

• Wear a hat, which can save a considerable amount of body heat loss and protect the ears.

• On bitter cold days, wear a scarf to protect the lungs.

• Wear warm socks and heavy boots or shoes with non-slip soles or overshoes.

Contact transportation and commuting reporter Christina Tesar at [email protected].