1/23/11: Extreme Cold Weather Advisory
Mayor Menino urges caution as dangerously low temperatures arrive tonight
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For Immediate Release
January 23, 2011
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Press.Office@cityofboston.gov

Mayor Thomas M. Menino reminds residents and families to prepare for the dangerously cold weather that will arrive tonight. The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory beginning at midnight through 9 AM tomorrow morning, with wind chill values between 15 and 25 degrees below zero. This is expected be the coldest weather Boston has seen in over 5 years. In such dangerous conditions, Mayor Menino reminds people to take precautions to stay warm, particularly Boston Public Schools (BPS) students and families that will be leaving for school tomorrow morning during the coldest hours.

“We are very concerned about this cold weather and have had city teams out all weekend monitoring the situation and keeping our residents safe,” said Mayor Menino. “We will continue to work together to make sure everyone stays safe and warm, especially our young people as they head to school in the morning.”

BPS students and their families are reminded to dress warmly in layers, cover all exposed skin when outdoors, and do not arrive at bus stops more than 10 minutes prior to the scheduled pick up time. BPS school bus mechanics and staff will arrive early Monday morning to start school busses to ensure that buses are running on time and BPS Planning and Engineering staff will continue to monitor school building facility issues to prevent pipes from freezing and breaking.

The Mayor also urged residents to check on the well-being of their elderly or disabled neighbors, be mindful of homeless individuals that may need assistance, and practice caution when using portable heating devices such as space heaters. The Emergency Shelter Commission continues to work with other city agencies and non-profit organizations to actively seek out individuals and help them find shelter during this cold snap. People who encounter homeless individuals are encouraged to notify public safety officials by calling 9-1-1 or the Mayor's 24-hour Hotline at (617) 635-4500 during this potentially record cold weekend.

“In New England we are no stranger to cold weather conditions. When severe cold is upon us, it is best for the health and safety of our community to be cautious,” said Boston EMS Medical Director Dr. Sophia Dyer. “Please pay attention to the multiple precautions about exposure to extreme cold and please be aware of those in our neighborhoods who are especially vulnerable during these conditions.”

Avoid Cold Weather Dangers

The Boston Public Health Commission advises the following precautions to stay warm and avoid the dangerous effects of extremely cold weather:

  • Wear layers of comfortable clothing and warm boots or footwear that protect your feet.
  • Cover exposed skin – especially ears, hands, and other extremities – as skin is vulnerable to frost bite at such low temperatures.
  • Keep moving if working or playing outside and avoid getting wet.
  • Avoid walking on frozen ponds or lakes as ice may not be fully frozen.
  • Drink warm, non-caffeinated fluids.
  • Keep Pets Indoors.

“No Heat” Calls and Heating Assistance

  • Rental units should be heated to 68 degrees during the day and 64 degrees at night.
  • Tenants should alert their landlord first to correct any issues with their heat and if a landlord is unresponsive residents are encouraged to contact the Mayor's 24-Hour Hotline by calling (617) 635-4500. The Inspectional Services Department (ISD) will investigate situations and work with landlords to fix any problems.
  • The ISD will provide extended hours of staffing throughout the weekend to handle “no heat” complaints from residents.
  • For heating assistance, Mayor Menino urged residents to contact ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) at (617) 357-6012.
  • The Federal Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) was recently funded by Congress and eligible program applicants received notice of additional fuel assistance benefits this week. Eligible applicants should have already contacted their home heating oil providers, but if not, they can do so for Saturday and Sunday delivery.

Mayor Menino has asked NStar and National Grid utility companies to remain open and ready to respond to any emergency calls and to continue to work closely with the City to ensure the safety of all residents.?

Cold Weather Safety Tips

The City advises residents to follow these general heating safety tips for winter weather:

  • Never use your oven for heat.
  • Electric powered portable heaters should never be left on while sleeping and should be kept at least three feet away from combustible materials.
  • Make sure flashlights are working properly and have fresh batteries.
  • Do not overload electrical sockets.
  • Never leave candles unattended.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, toxic gas that can leak into your home from a faulty heating system, an idling car in your garage, or using your oven as a heat source. CO detectors are required in homes by law, and they must be within ten feet of sleeping areas.
  • Working smoke detectors should be on each floor of your home, particularly near bedrooms.

Mayor Menino has instructed that emergency warming centers be ready to open if needed during this cold weather snap.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

The Boston Water and Sewer Commission will staff an Emergency Assistance Line through the weekend at (617) 989-7000 for those residents with questions regarding frozen pipes. To avoid frozen pipes:

  • Let warm water drip overnight in faucets, preferably from a faucet on an outdoor wall and leave cabinet doors open to allow heat to reach un-insulated pipes.
  • If your pipes freeze, remove insulation, completely open all faucets and use rags soaked in hot water on pipes where they are the most exposed to the cold.

For more information visit www.cityofboston.gov/cold.

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