The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection is encouraging anyone who needs shelter from the first bitter cold temperatures of the season to call 2-1-1.
During and the , in Middlebury and in Southbury opened as shelters.
Traditionally, the is used as an emergency shelter, said First Selectman Gerald Stomski.
Residents are asked to call 2-1-1 for shelter information before venturing out to shelter locations.
The DESPP and the Department of Social Services, at Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's direction, are coordinating with 2-1-1 and Connecticut’s network of shelters to provide the state’s most vulnerable population with access to sheltering.
"Wind chills are forecasted to be between -5 F and -15 F overnight tonight,” said DESPP Commissioner Reuben F. Bradford. "These are bitterly cold temperatures, that is why we are taking steps now to make sure that we can take care of those in need of warmth and shelter."
Bradford said the staff at 2-1-1 will provide shelter information to people who call.
"The 2-1-1 system provides an incredibly important service to the people of Connecticut and I encourage everyone to take advantage of the help that is available to them," he said.
The state DESPP also offers the following cold weather preparedness tips:
- Dress in layers. This helps keep you insulated and lets you take off or add more layers of clothing as needed. Wear many layers of loose-fitting clothing and stay dry.
- Cover your skin. When the wind chill brings the temperature well below zero, be sure to cover your skin. In extreme cold, skin exposed to the cold air can get frostbite in just a few minutes. If you have to go outside, you should wear:
- Scarf or knit face mask to cover your face and mouth
- Sleeves that are snug at the wrist
- Mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
- Water-resistant coat and boots
- Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Beverages with alcohol and caffeine actually make your body lose heat more quickly. Drink hot, sweetened beverages to help you stay warm.
- Take frequent breaks from the cold. If you have to be outside, take frequent breaks in warm, dry shelters to let your body warm up.
- Make sure infants stay warm. Infants under one year old should not sleep in cold bedrooms because they lose body heat more easily and are unable to shiver to keep themselves warm. Keep them properly clothed and indoors in warm temperatures.
- Check on elderly neighbors and family members. People over the age of 65 often are less active and have lower metabolisms, making them lose body heat more quickly. Make sure that the temperature in their home is adequate enough to keep them warm.