Interim Health Commissioner Mary Beth Haller Declares Code Blue Extreme Cold Alert for Baltimore Sunday Afternoon until Tuesday Morning

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:

Mona Rock: Office: (443) 984-2623, Cell: (410) 375-7763

BALTIMORE, Md. (January 18, 2019)—With precipitation and single digit temperatures expected this weekend, Baltimore City Interim Health Commissioner Mary Beth Haller has issued a Code Blue Extreme Cold declaration for Baltimore City beginning Sunday afternoon, January 20 through Tuesday morning, January 22.  This is the fourth Code Blue Extreme Cold declaration this season.

“Due to the forecasted precipitation and with wind chill temperatures expected to be below zero in Baltimore this weekend, I am issuing a Code Blue Extreme Cold declaration beginning Sunday through Tuesday morning. I encourage residents to stay indoors, especially those most vulnerable to cold,” said Baltimore City Interim Health Commissioner Mary Beth Haller. “Extreme cold temperatures can permanently injure, or even kill. Please be sure to check on neighbors who you think may be at risk to ensure that they have heat and power, and take care to shelter pets appropriately.”

The Health Commissioner may declare a Code Blue Extreme Cold 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 Baltimore residents.

The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has reported three cold weather related deaths in Baltimore City this Code Blue Extreme Cold season.

Code Blue Extreme Cold indicates an increased risk for cold injuries or even death for those exposed to low temperatures. When a Code Blue Extreme Cold declaration is made, public messaging activities are undertaken to encourage safety when outdoors and response partners work to ensure those in need find shelter. During the Code Blue Extreme Cold season, which began November 15, 2018 and lasts until March 15, 2019, City agencies work together to:

  • Distribute meals to at-risk senior citizens
  • Provide home weatherization services
  • Help individuals apply for energy assistance
  • Provide additional cold weather education and outreach efforts

Throughout the Code Blue Extreme Cold 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.  Due to the forecasted extremely cold temperatures this weekend, winter shelter sites will “shelter in place” from Sunday, January 20, through Tuesday, January 22.  During this time period, winter shelter access is available 24 hours a day.  For more information about the City’s winter shelter plan, visit: https://human-services.baltimorecity.gov/homeless-services/winter-shelter

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 most vulnerable, including 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 inside your home, 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 their nearest Community Action Partnership (CAP) Center.

  • Northern CAP Center (5225 York Road, 21212) – 410-396-6084
  • Northwest CAP Center (3939 Reisterstown Road, 21215) – 443-984-1384
  • Southern CAP Center (606 Cherry Hill Road, 21225) – 410-545-0900
  • Southeast CAP Center (3411 Bank Street, 21224) – 410-545-6518
  • Eastern CAP Center (1731 E. Chase Street, 21213) – 410-545-0136

City offices are closed Monday, January 21st due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

For more information about Baltimore City's Code Blue Extreme Cold plan, visit: http://health.baltimorecity.gov/emergency-preparedness-response/code-blue

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

 

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