Chicago is expected to experience record cold temperatures in the upcoming days. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is advising residents to prepare for winter weather conditions and take precautions to avoid related possible emergencies, including fire hazards.
Currently, the National Weather Service in Chicago has issued a Lakeshore Flood Advisory in effect from 9:00 p.m. today until 12 p.m. Tuesday. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect tomorrow until Tuesday, 2:00 p.m.
Next week’s weather predictions include temperatures in the teens and a possibility of snow. The early arrival of winter cold can leave some residents vulnerable to conditions. OEMC stresses the importance of checking in on seniors, those living alone or neighbors and family, particularly those with disabilities, to ensure their safety as winter takes hold.
As many seek heat, the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) does not recommend using space heaters; however, if used, be sure they are UL certified and at least 3 feet from anything that can ignite. Use of a space heater in children's rooms should be monitored closely as children sometimes move them close to or into the bed with tragic results. If extension cords are used, they should be rated at 15 amps minimum and never put cords under carpet.
With the added demand on furnaces and boilers, CFD also reminds residents are required by ordinance to have working carbon monoxide detectors to protect against carbon monoxide leaks from a heating system that could be fatal over time. Those seeking access to warming centers and/or experiencing insufficient heat are encouraged to contact 3-1-1 for immediate assistance. Also, be sure to keep smoke detectors in working order.
If pipes freeze, do not use candles or any open flame to thaw them. Use a hair dryer or heating pad.
Motorists should take extra precautions to winterize vehicles and have necessary supplies on-the-go. Keep in mind, disabled vehicles or distracted driving can cause accidents, impact traffic and others or requiring emergency services.
It’s important to stay informed of changing conditions and heed warnings and advisories. Residents should know the signs and care of frostbite and hypothermia. Winter preparation information is available at https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/oem/supp_info/alertrespond/weatherextremes.html including links to other local, state and federal resources.
As the city braces for wintry conditions, heed the following simple suggestions:
• Avoid unnecessary trips outside-if you must go out, limit the time you stay outside;
• Wear several layers of loose, warm clothing;
• Keep your head, hands and feet covered when outdoors;
• Stay dry, because moisture can damage the insulating effectiveness of clothing;
• Pay extra attention to your daily needs: get enough sleep, eat high energy foods, drink warm beverages to help your body stay warm, and avoid alcoholic beverages;
• To request shelter, information on a warming center, or a well-being check, call 3-1-1 or access the online portal at 311.chicago.gov or CHI311 mobile app. For more information, see https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/fss/provdrs/serv/svcs/dfss_warming_centers.html
OEMC will continue to monitor conditions. Subscribe to Chicago’s emergency alert system at Notifychicago.com for any updated warnings.