Health Commissioner Declares Code Blue Extreme Cold Alert for Baltimore City Overnight Friday through Saturday Morning
Thursday Dec 24th, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Adam Abadir: 301-221-1908; [email protected]
BALTIMORE, MD (December 24, 2020)— With temperatures predicted to fall into the teens with wind chill overnight, Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa has issued a Code Blue Extreme Cold declaration for Baltimore City beginning Friday evening, December 25th through Saturday morning, December 26th.
“With dangerously cold temperatures expected in Baltimore, I am issuing a Code Blue Extreme Cold declaration beginning Friday evening through Saturday morning. I encourage residents to stay indoors, especially those most vulnerable to cold,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa. “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 vulnerable Baltimore citizens.
The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has reported three cold-related deaths in Baltimore City so far 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. Once 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, 2020, and lasts until March 15, 2021, 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 Homeless Services also works with city homeless shelter providers to extend shelter hours and to provide expanded bed capacity as part of their Winter Shelter Plan.
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 by walking slowly and avoiding steps or curbs with ice on them.
- 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.
During the winter season, there are several services available to eligible residents to assist with energy expenses. For more information on energy assistance, residents can call 410-545-0900 or visit the Energy Assistance Program website. Older residents or caregivers can call Maryland Access Point at 410-396-CARE for assistance completing and mailing energy assistance applications. The Weatherization Assistance Program helps reduce energy expenses by installing energy conservative materials and products in a resident’s home. To check if you are eligible for this free service, visit the Weatherization Assistance Program’s website.
For more information about Baltimore City’s Code Blue Extreme Cold Plan, visit the Health Department’s website.
For other cold-related inquiries and service requests, or to find a nearby homeless shelter, residents can call 311 or 211.