Health Commissioner Dr. Wen Declares Code Blue Alert in Baltimore Overnight Tonight Through Saturday Morning

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:

Michelle Mendes: Office: (410) 396-7286, Cell: (443) 862-0891
Mona Rock: Office: (443) 984-2623, Cell: (410) 375-7763

BALTIMORE, MD (March 10, 2017) – With temperatures predicted to fall into the teens with wind chill, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen today issued a Code Blue declaration for Baltimore City beginning tonight, Friday, March 10th through the morning of Saturday, March 11th.

This is the fourth Code Blue alert for Baltimore this season.

“With dangerously cold temperatures expected in Baltimore, I am issuing a Code Blue Declaration beginning tonight through Friday morning and encourage residents to stay indoors, especially those most vulnerable to cold,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “Extreme 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. Please be sure to check on your neighbors to ensure that they have heat and power.”

Code Blue is a multi-agency effort to reduce hypothermia deaths this winter by protecting vulnerable populations from extreme cold weather.

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 15, 2017 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 energy 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.

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.
  • 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 more information about Code Blue, visit http://health.baltimorecity.gov/.

For other cold-related inquiries and service requests, or to find a nearby homeless shelter, residents can call 311 or 211.

Related Stories

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Supports White House Opioid Commission’s Recommendations

BALTIMORE, MD (August 1, 2017) –Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen today issued the following statement in response to recommendations included in the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis draft interim report.

Baltimore City Health Department Launches Billion Step Challenge

BALTIMORE, MD (July 29, 2017)—Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) are launching the yearlong Billion Step Challenge, a citywide wellness challenge to encourage all residents and employees in Baltimore City to get active. The initiative, as part of BCHD’s strategic blueprint Health Baltimore 2020, will include partnerships with other city agencies, corporate entities and community organizations to host events that will promote physical activity. Healthy Baltimore 2020 outlines key priorities and objectives through which BCHD aims to reduce health disparities in Baltimore by half over the next 10 years.

AARP Foundation Grant to Support Food Access for Low-Income Senior Residents in Baltimore City

Funding supports easy food delivery options and cooking classes

BALTIMORE (July 27, 2017) — The Baltimore City Health Department, American Heart Association and No Boundaries Coalition have joined forces to provide healthy food access for low-income Baltimore City seniors thanks to a $750,000 grant from AARP Foundation.