Sunday, January 5, 2014

Dangerous Cold Coming Tonight

In Ald. Pawar's weekly newsletter, there's a lot of good advice about coping with the dangerously low temperatures that we will experience beginning tonight.  There's a lot in it, but please take a moment to read through it.  We're dealing with brutal conditions that are unfamiliar to many of us.

"The first few days of 2014 have been filled with snow and cold temperatures, but this coming next week, especially Monday and Tuesday, will bring dangerous subzero weather. As Chicagoans, we are certainly used to a lot of snow and many cold days throughout the winter. That said, the temperatures we will experience over the next week will be extreme, so please take the time to prepare your home and your car. Also, please check on any friends, family members and neighbors, especially elderly or with disabilities, who live alone or who may need some help over the next few days.

Below are some tips for dealing with the extreme cold.

Communication Checklist
  • Charge your cell phone.
  • Keep in contact with your family (make a contact list with home phone numbers, cell phone numbers and emails).
  • Be sure to check on older or more frail neighbors and family members and assist as necessary.
Staying Warm and Safe in Your Home
  • Do not use your stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Landlords must keep apartments heated to 66 degrees at night and 68 degrees during the day. To report a heating issue, call: 3-1-1. The Department of Buildings encourages residents to first contact their landlords when these temperatures are not maintained and to call 3-1-1 if no action is being taken.  During extreme cold weather, however, the Building Department's first priority is responding to heat complaints and it reassigns inspectors to handle the increased number of heat complaints.
  • Use electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements.
  • Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
  • Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
  • Keep heat sources at least three feet away from furniture and drapes.
  • Never use charcoal grills or portable gas camp stoves indoors. The fumes are deadly.
  • Avoid using candles as these can lead to house fires.
  • Keep some canned/no-cook food, such as bread, crackers, nuts and dried fruits, in case of a power outage.
  • Make sure you know where you store your prescription drugs and other medicine.
  • Keep a first-aid kit handy.
  • Store extra water in containers and tubs in case plumbing pipes freeze and/or break.
  • If you have pipes susceptible to freezing, you can leave a faucet with a continuous drip as flowing water does not readily freeze.
Car Safety and Checklist.  If you can, stay home! But otherwise consider the following items for your vehicle:
  • Small shovel, sand, salt and board (for propping under tires for traction)
  • Brush, broom and windshield scraper
  • Cell phone and charger for car adapter, and flashlight
  • Extra hat, coat, snow boots, gloves/mittens and blanket
  • Jumper cables and a tool kit
Also, the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) operates six Community Service Centers located throughout the city that double as warming centers on weekdays during the winter months when temperatures fall below 32 degrees. These Community Service Centers are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays.  One of these facilities, the Garfield Community Service Center at 10 South Kedzie, is open on a 24-hour basis to connect residents to emergency shelter.

Seniors can also go to Regional Senior Centers and 15 Satellite Senior Centers to keep warm and participate in various activities. DFSS will deploy additional mobile outreach crews and extend Community Service Centers and Regional Senior Center hours this Sunday through Tuesday when temperatures will be dangerously low. In our community, seniors can go to:
  • Levy Center, 2019 W. Lawrence Ave., M-F 8:30am to 4:30pm 
  • North Center Senior Satellite Center, 4040 N. Oakley, M-F 8:30am to 4:30pm
If you need assistance please call 3-1-1; it is available all day every day. If you have any questions please contact our office, Monday - Friday, 9AM to 5PM or email anytime.

And finally, residents can visit to track snow removal efforts through the Plow Tracker webpage and sign up to volunteer with the Snow Corp program, which helps to pair volunteers with senior residents or people with disabilities who require assistance to shovel their sidewalks.

Please be careful over the next few days -- check on your neighbors -- pick up the phone, send an email or pop over for a quick hello. In weather like this, a simple hello can be the difference between life and death. Stay warm and stay safe."

The local warming center will have extended hours and is located at 845 W Wilson (at Hazel). They will help people find overnight housing if asked. Remember that libraries, park fieldhouses (Gill, Margate, Clarendon, and Chase) and police stations can also be used as warming centers. Be safe!

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