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Health Commissioner calls first Code Blue Extreme Cold Alert of season

Posted at 3:21 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 15:39:21-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Baltimore City Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa has issued the season's first Code Blue Extreme Cold Alert.

The declaration is set to begin Wednesday evening, and last through Thursday morning. This is the first Code Blue Extreme Cold Alert for Baltimore City this season.

“I encourage residents to stay indoors,” said Dzirasa. “Please be sure to check on neighbors who may be at risk to ensure they have heat and power, and take care to shelter pets.”

Code Blue Extreme Cold Alert's can be declared when temperatures, including wind chill, are expected to be 13˚F or below or when other conditions are severe enough to threaten the life or health of vulnerable citizens.

Last winter, 13 Code Blue Extreme Cold days were declared in Baltimore. The state Medical Examiner’s office recorded 13 cold-related deaths in Baltimore City.

Those most vulnerable to cold-related death include the elderly, homeless, and people with pre-existing heart conditions, or substance use disorders.

The Code Blue Extreme Cold season, lasts from November 15 until March 15, 2020.

During the time of year, agencies work to distribute meals to at-risk senior citizens, provide home weatherization services, help with energy assistance applications, and extend homeless shelter hours.
Provide additional cold weather education and outreach efforts.

Here are some cold weather tips from the Health Commissioner:

  • 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.
  • 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