BALTIMORE — With dangerously cold temperatures expected to continue through tomorrow morning, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen extended a Code Blue declaration for Baltimore City until 10 a.m. Monday, January 25.
“While the snow storm may have passed, the weather will continue be extremely cold. Severely cold temperatures can permanently injure, or even kill. Hypothermia, or low body temperature, can be just as dangerous as extreme heat, so it is important to stay indoors in heated areas,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “Now is the time when neighbors should be checking on each other, especially our most vulnerable residents: the elderly, children, and people with chronic medical conditions.”
The Health Commissioner may declare a Code Blue alert when temperatures, including wind chill, are expected to be 13˚F or below or when other conditions are severe enough to present a substantial threat to the life or health of vulnerable Baltimore citizens.
Code Blue indicates an increased risk for cold injuries or even death for those exposed to low temperatures. Once a Code Blue declaration is made, public messaging activities are undertaken to encourage safety when outdoors and response partners work to ensure those in need find sheltering. During the Code Blue season, which began November 16, 2015 and lasts until March 15, 2016, City agencies work together to:
Distribute meals to at-risk senior citizens;
Provide home weatherization services;
Help individuals apply for emergency assistance; and
Provide additional cold weather education and outreach efforts, as needed
Throughout the Code Blue season, The Mayor’s Office of Human Services’ Office of Homeless Services also works with city homeless shelter providers to extend shelter hours and to provide expanded bed capacity. Last winter, the state Medical Examiner’s office recorded 12 hypothermia-related deaths in Baltimore City.
Cold Weather Tips for Staying Healthy:
Wear multiple layers of loose-fitting clothing.
Always wear a head covering, like a hat and/or scarf, when outdoors.
Take frequent breaks when shoveling snow.
Drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcoholic beverages.
Protect yourself against falls in icy or snowy conditions.
Check on those who are children, the elderly and/or chronically ill.
Provide appropriate shelter for domestic animals.
Other Tips For Keeping Safe in Cold Weather:
Keep space heaters and candles away from flammable materials, such as curtains, furniture and loose clothing.
Check your carbon monoxide detector and make sure it’s working.
Do not use prohibited heat or power sources, such as stoves or generators. They may cause fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Do not leave your car running in a closed space such as a garage.
Residents are encouraged to contact 311 if a neighbor is without heat or power so that city agencies can assist them. Energy assistance may be available to those who need it. For more information, individuals may contact one of the regional Community Action Partnership centers in Baltimore or call the Office of Home Energy Programs at 410-396-5555.
For other cold-related inquiries and service requests, or to find a nearby homeless shelter, residents can call 311 or 211.
For more information about Code Blue, visit the Health Department’s Website at www.health.baltimorecity.gov.