Bone-chilling cold is descending on the Midwest. The last time Chicago faced temperatures this low was more than 30 years ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has offered tips for getting yourself, your home and your car ready for winter weather. We asked people in Chicago who work in extreme cold for their practical tips for survival. Here’s what they said.

[For the latest developments, read our Thursday live briefing on the polar vortex here.]

Anita Ellis, a crossing guard who was stationed outside John T. McCutcheon Elementary School in Chicago on Tuesday, said that her secret weapon against the cold was hidden inside her thick winter gloves: a thin pair of rubber gloves.

“They keep the moisture in, so the air can’t float through,” she said, adding that any kind of thin, rubbery gloves — the kind that doctors and nurses wear — are effective.

Ms. Ellis, who works as a crossing guard one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon, said she had picked up the tip from her father, who owned a carwash and spent many hours of his day outside in the Chicago winter.

Also part of her arsenal: long underwear, puffy black snow pants and a warm woolen hat that only allows her eyes and nose to peek through.

A battering wind left people pulling scarves and masks ever higher around their faces and grimacing as they hurried here and there, but Michael Bomba seemed not to notice. He was standing outside the hotel in downtown Chicago where he is a doorman, same as always. He was actually smiling.

Mr. Bomba’s trick: While he employs the more traditional layering approach for his upper body (a thermal layer, a “couple” of long-sleeve shirts, a windbreaker, a vest, a coat), he takes a radical approach for his lower half. He wears boots and snow pants that are designed for arctic exploration. The pants have extra reinforcing pads on the backside and knees and promise to keep you warm to minus 120. The boots? To 140 below.

“You need to go heavy duty on the bottom — that’s the key,” he said. He had been out half the day, and planned to be out the rest of it. “I’m outside all the time and I feel good. My fingertips are a touch cold, but the rest of the body is creating enough heat so it’s not bad.”

[Polar Vortex to Grip Midwest With Most Extreme Cold in a Generation]

Jamie Goodman, who cleans coaches on one of the city’s busiest commuter train operations, says the clothes really aren’t the issue. Yes, proper insulation is a must for people like him who work endlessly in the elements cleaning train windows, seats, floors.