Keep these tips in mind during severe winter weather conditions that Billings and other areas of Montana have been experiencing.

Winter came early for many Montanans, bringing cold temperatures along with it. According to the National Weather Service, areas across the Northern Rockies on Tuesday had negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit lows.

Now is a great time to prepare for winter to ensure you are safe and warm throughout the season. The National Center for Environmental Health offers tips for staying safe during severe winter and cold weather.

When outside, take precautions in colder weather by putting on plenty of layers. It’s also important to wear a tightly woven coat or jacket with inner layers to provide light, warm clothing. Waterproof boots and hats, mittens, and scarves are also beneficial.

Eating a well-balanced meal can also help you stay warm. It’s also a good idea to avoid alcoholic or heavily caffeinated brings as they can make you lose heat faster. Try a sweet beverage or broth instead. Excessive sweating can also make your body lose heat faster; remove extra layers if you feel you are getting too hot.

When recreating outside in the cold, avoid walking on ice or getting wet. If you are camping, hiking, or skiing, let your friends and family know where you are before you leave. Do not let any portion of your skin be exposed to the cold. Watch for signs of hypothermia or frostbite, and be prepared to take emergency shelter.

Hypothermia symptoms can be confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, or slurred speech. In babies, hypothermia can be bright red cold skin, and very low energy. If the internal body heat is lower than 95 degrees, seek medical attention immediately.

Frostbite symptoms can be loss of feeling or color, typically in the nose, fingers, cheeks, chin, and toes. The skin can appear white or grayish-yellow. Frostbites can permanently damage the body, so it is important to find medical care.