Residents encouraged to take precautions against the cold

The following was submitted by Michele DeLuca, Norwalk’s deputy director of emergency management.

NORWALK, Conn. — In addition to the winter storm, bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills that could it 15 degrees below zero are expected through Saturday. The Norwalk Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management urges residents to take precautions to keep safe during this especially frigid weather.

Cold weather often results in power outages, frozen pipes, fires and other life-threatening events when people use unsafe alternative heat sources or don’t take precautions against the cold. Residents that need warming assistance can go to the Main and South Norwalk librarie,s which are the main warming centers in Norwalk. United Way/ Infoline 2-1-1 can be called for emergency shelters and resources in Norwalk and across the region.

  • Exposure to cold can cause life-threatening health conditions. Avoid serious conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia, by keeping warm. Wear a hat, hood, or scarf, as most heat is lost through the head. Wear layers, as they provide better insulation and warmth. Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered if you go outside. Keep clothing dry; if a layer becomes wet, remove it. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
  • Prevent frozen pipes — When the weather is very cold outside, open cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around water pipes. Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe — even at a trickle — helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water running through it is above freezing. Keep the thermostat set to a consistent temperature. Never thaw a frozen pipe or meter with an open flame; this could lead to a fire or cause a steam explosion.
  • Give space heaters space. Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn. Turn off heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep. Do not use stoves and ovens to heat your residence.
  • Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure alarms and CO detectors are working properly and replace batteries as necessary.
  • Maintain at least a half tank of gas in your vehicle during winter and keep an emergency supply kit in your car with flashlights, hand warmers, blankets and more.

If you lose heat, take measures to trap existing warm air, and safely stay warm until heat returns.

  • Insulate your home as much as possible. Hang blankets over windows and doorways and stay in a well-insulated room while power is out.
  • Dress warmly. Wear hats, scarves, gloves, and layered clothing.
  • If you have a working fireplace, use it for heat and light, but be sure to keep the damper open for ventilation.
  • Eat. Food provides your body with needed energy to produce its own heat and drinking helps your body avoid dehydration.
  • If the cold persists and your heat is not restored, call family, neighbors, or friends to see if you can stay with them.

For additional resources for planning for severe cold visit www.ready.org, for storm and safety updates like on Facebook  or follow on Twitter @Norwalk_OEM


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