‘Dangerously Cold’ Wind Chills Headed Our Way This Weekend

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nws wind chill feb 2016Winter is coming. . . again. However, this time it’s not a blizzard, but rather sub-zero wind chills through the entire weekend, including Valentine’s Day.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a formal Wind Chill Advisory from 4pm Saturday, February 13 through 12 noon Sunday, February 14. Wind chills are forecast to be as low as -20 to -25 degrees Fahrenheit.

“We want every New Yorker to take these bitter cold temperatures seriously – stay indoors, and if you have to go out, bundle up,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “Remember to keep your pets safe, and check in on your family, neighbors, the elderly or others with increased health risks to make sure they are protected from the extreme cold.”

Cold Weather 101

As always, we’re encouraged to check on neighbors, friends, and relatives, especially the elderly and those with disabilities. Stay indoors as much as possible, wear multiple layers of warm, dry clothing, and do not use alcohol to warm up as that will just increase your chances of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • If you suspect a person is suffering from frostbite or hypothermia, call 911 to get medical help.
    While waiting for assistance, help the person by getting them to a warm place if possible, removing any damp clothing and covering them with warm blankets.Shivering is an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Shivering is a signal to return indoors.
  • Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about performing hard work in the cold. Your body is already working hard to stay warm; don’t overdo it.
Checking heaters and boilers beforehand is also advised:
  • Report any loss of heat or hot water to property managers immediately, and call 311.
  • Electric space heaters are the only kind legal in NYC because they are supposed to turn off automatically when tipped over. Keep them away from water and flammable objects such as paper and loose fabric.
  • Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven, charcoal barbecue grill, or kerosene, propane, generator or oil-burning heaters.

nws cold weather safety tipsIf you live in an apartment building, remember: building owners are legally required to provide heat and hot water to their tenants. Hot water must be provided 365 days per year, especially during the “Heat Season”, between October 1st and May 31st:

  • Between the hours of 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM, if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM, if the outside temperature falls below 40 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your building owner, manager, or superintendent is not responding, call 3-1-1 or file a complaint at 311ONLINE for heat and hot water conditions.

Check your carbon monoxide detector. Make sure all fuel-burning devices such as furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters, clothes dryers, and fireplaces and chimneys are properly vented to the outdoors and operating properly. If you are not sure, contact a professional to inspect and make necessary repairs.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are non-specific and include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sleepiness, trouble breathing, and loss of consciousness. Severe poisonings may result in permanent injury or death.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911, get the victim to fresh air immediately, and open windows.

Homeless Services

A Code Blue Weather Emergency notice is issued when the weather drops to 32 degrees or below. No one seeking shelter in New York City will be denied. Anyone who sees a homeless individual or family out in the cold should call 311 immediately and an outreach team will be dispatched to assist them.
  • Angela Sinthi

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