Towns, cities open shelters and warming centers amid frigid temp - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Towns, cities open shelters and warming centers amid frigid temps

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(MGN photo) (MGN photo)

With the bitter cold temperatures and wind chills residents are bracing this week, the state has activated it's Severe Cold Weather Protocol.

Channel 3 meteorologists are predicting temperatures to be only in the teens and low 20s the rest of the week.

“We're entering a long duration of sub-freezing temperatures, or a deep freeze. It will likely be early 2018 before temperatures go back above 32 degrees,” Meteorologist Mark Dixon said on Tuesday.

Gov. Dannel Malloy activated the state's Severe Cold Weather Protocol, which will remain in effect until Jan. 2.

The protocol directs staff from various state departments to coordinate with 2-1-1 and shelters across the state to make sure people are protected during the bitterly cold stretch.

This includes the following actions:

  • DESPP’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security activates its WebEOC communications network, an internet-based system that enables local, regional and state emergency management officials and first responders to share up-to-date information about a variety of situations and conditions.  The system is used to monitor capacity at shelters across the state, enabling 2-1-1 to act as a clearinghouse to assist in finding shelter space for those who need it.  Local officials, working through WebEOC, can alert 2-1-1 and the state when they open temporary shelters or warming centers.
  • DSS, DOH, and DMHAS coordinate with 2-1-1 and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, along with community-based providers, to provide transportation for people seeking shelter.

For a complete list of shelters and warming centers, click here or call 2-1-1.

“With bitter cold temperatures expected over the next couple of days, we must all take precautions and continue to protect the most vulnerable among us,” Malloy said in a press release.  “If anyone is in need of shelter, call 2-1-1 to find the nearest available location.  I also encourage local communities to consider opening warming centers or other facilities to assist those in need.”

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin provided information about daytime warming hours on Tuesday:

  • Hartford Public Library, Downtown Branch, 500 Main St: Monday – Thursday 9:30 am – 8:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
  • Center Church, 60 Gold St: Wednesday through Sunday 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Hands on Hartford, 45 Church St: Mondays and Tuesdays 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • South End Wellness Center, 830 Maple Ave: Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 4:00 pm 
  • North End Senior Center, 80 Coventry St: Monday – Friday 9:30 am – 3:00 pm
  • Parkville Senior Center, 11 New Park Ave: Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
  • Hispanic Health Council, 175 Main St: Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
  • Hispanic Senior Center, 45 Wadsworth St: Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

An overnight warming center for individual men and women is available at the Willie Ware Community Center, 697 Windsor St: Open 7 days a week, 7:30 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.

“I urge residents to stay indoors as much as possible to protect themselves against this bitter cold,” said Mayor Bronin. “Severe weather protocol helps ensure anyone who needs warm shelter has access to it.”

New Haven officials also said it has more information about shelters and warming centers that can be found here.

Police departments are also offering tips for residents to help them stay warm.

New London police officers posted several tips on Facebook:

  • Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.
  • Frequent checks on our senior family members, friends, and neighbors.
  • Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
  • Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
  • Requires supervision – Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Don’t catch fire! If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
  • Better safe than sorry. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
  • The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Use generators outside. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.

New London will be opening a warming center for those in need during normal business hours (8 a.m. till 4 p.m.) at the Senior Citizen’s Center at 120 Broad Street. 

Officials said after-business hours, people in need will be directed to the Homeless Hospitality Center, 325 Huntington Street (Males) or the Covenant Shelter, 42 Jay Street (Women and Children). 

If any citizen requires additional assistance during this weather event, they are encouraged to call 911 in an emergency or (860) 447-5269 (Police/Fire Dispatch) for routine requests for weather assistance during this forecasted intense cold weather period.

This stretch of frigid weather could last over a week.

"The last time we had a stretch longer than a week of temperatures below 32 was back in February of 2014 when we had 9 days in a row (this one could be worse if our forecast verifies, with the magnitude of the cold)," Dixon said.

On Thursday, West Haven opened its warming center, which is located in room A in the basement of city hall. The center is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. City officials said residents can use the senior center on Noble Street from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Officials said no food or drink is allowed and the centers are "offered as respite from the cold."

On Wednesday, the Town of Avon announced its also opening warming centers due to the bitter cold. The Avon Senior Center and the Avon Free Public Library will be open to residents during their normal business hours. The warming centers will be available until Jan. 2. For more information, click here

The town of Hamden also opened warming centers on Wednesday.  The following locations are available to the public:

• Government Center - 2750 Dixwell Ave.
• Miller Library Complex - 2901 Dixwell Ave.
• Whitneyville Library - 125 Carleton St.
• Community Branch Library - 91 Circular Ave.
• Keefe Community Center - 11 Pine St.
• Police Department - 2900 Dixwell Ave.
• Fire Station 2 - 71 Circular Ave.
• Fire Station 3 - 441 Hartford Tpke.
• Fire Station 4 - 2372 Whitney Ave.
• Fire Station 5 - 2993 Whitney Ave.
• Fire Station 9 - 245 Johnson Rd.

Simsbury is also offering warming centers until Jan. 2:

Simsbury Library 725 Hopmeadow Street, (Lower Level) 860 658-7663

  • Hours: Tuesday through Thursday 9:30 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Friday and Saturday 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Sunday 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Eno Memorial Hall 754 Hopmeadow Street (Senior Center) 860 658-3283

  • Hours: Wednesday, Thursday& Tuesday 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Friday 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Both the Simsbury Library and Eno Memorial Hall will be closed Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. For further information, call the Simsbury Social Services Department at 860 658-3283.

While it's important to make sure you and your loved ones are safe and warm, it is also important to take care of your vehicle.

AAA is reminding drivers to take some precautions ahead of the frigid weather, like making sure your tires are inflated for the cold; make sure the battery is strong, and stock a cold weather emergency kit with an extra phone charger, gloves, a blanket, a flashlight,  a shovel, Ice scraper, de-icer, and kitty litter or abrasive materials.

For more tips, click here.

You can always check the weather forecast with the Channel 3 app. For weather updates on smartphones and tablets, head here or text "WFSB" to 23765 to download the Channel 3 app.

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