Chicago Braces for Dangerously Cold Temperatures with Subzero Wind Chills beginning Friday, February 5 Through Early Next Week

February 3, 2021

The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) joined other City departments today to urge residents to take the necessary steps to stay warm and safe by utilizing City-offered services and tips during extremely cold temperatures forecasted by the National Weather Service (NWS) beginning this Friday and lasting through the next week. Those seeking access to warming centers and/or experiencing insufficient heat are encouraged to contact 3-1-1 for immediate assistance.

OEMC will monitor weather conditions with the NWS and coordinate response efforts with the City’s public safety and infrastructure departments and public partners to keep residents safe and informed. Additionally, OEMC issues several alerts and notifications to keep residents up to date on weather conditions and emergencies:

 Notify Chicago: Sign up for emergency alerts at
 CHILAKE: For lakefront notices, TEXT “CHILAKE” to 7-8-0-1-5
 COVID: Get COVID-19 updates by TEXTING “COVID19” to 6-7-2-8-3
 CHIBIZ: Business updates, TEXT “CHIBIZ” to 6-7-2-8-3

The City of Chicago would like to remind residents to provide any needed assistance to neighbors, family members, the elderly and those most vulnerable. If you need to request a well-being check you can call 311, go to, or use the 311 mobile app.

Department of Family and Support Services Warming Centers
When the temperature is 32 degrees or below, warming areas are available at City community service centers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and as needed during the evening and weekend. To locate a center nearby, residents can call City Services at 3-1-1 or visit Warming areas are safe spaces for refuge and relief from extreme cold weather. Cloth face coverings are required while in a warming are due to COVID-19 safety precautions – DFSS is providing a complimentary face covering to residents in need. In addition, residents interested in shelter placement can
call City Services at 3-1-1 or visit the Garfield Community Service Center at 10 S. Kedzie Avenue, which is open on a 24-hour basis to connect families and residents to emergency shelter.

Department of Buildings
The Department of Buildings (DOB) enforces the Chicago Building Code, which includes the Chicago Heat Ordinance. The Heat Ordinance mandates that, during cold weather months, landlords supply heat to rental units or to any unit where owners do not have individual control of the heat. With colder temperatures expected later this week, please note that, from September 15 through June 1, the temperature inside a rental residence is required to be at least 68 degrees from 8:30 AM to 10:30 PM and at least 66 degrees from 10:30 PM to 8:30 AM. Landlords face fines of up to $500 per day, per violation, for each day they do not supply adequate heat. The reason for lack of heat does not matter – landlords must follow the law, and apartments must be heated. If you are a renter and your landlord is not providing adequate heat or no heat at all, please contact 311 to file a complaint. The Department of Buildings will inspect your unit and we will take action against delinquent owners. DOB also routinely coordinates with other city departments when tenants require additional assistance, including the Department of Family and Support Services.

In extreme temperatures, ice may form on building structures. Property owners and building managers are advised to cordon off the area and put caution signs warning of these conditions. Residents are cautioned to clear the snow away from front and back porches or decks, as the added weight of snow and ice could compromise these structures.

As an important reminder, in cold weather and year-round, the Chicago Building Code mandates that landlords provide working smoke detectors for their tenants, and requires that tenants provide working batteries for the smoke detectors in their units.

Department of Water Management
The Department of Water Management reminds residents make sure that warm air is circulating throughout the home and keep a trickle of water running in order to prevent frozen pipes. If pipes freeze, do not use candles or any open flame to thaw them. Instead use a hair dryer or heating pad. For more info visit

Chicago Department of Public Health
As the City braces for cold temperatures, the Chicago Department of Public Health would like to caution residents to take care of themselves, and to also provide assistance to neighbors, family members, pets and friends, particularly those who are elderly, have disabilities and/or live alone. Taking preventative action is the best way to stay safe from the serious health risks associated with winter weather. Residents are advised to limit their time outside, wear layers of warm clothing when going outside, and watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Chicago Fire Department Winter Preparedness Safety Tips

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. The 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 that they 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, and to keep smoke detectors in working order..

Cold-Weather Tips
 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 prevent others from accessing emergency services.
 Residents should know the signs and care of frostbite and hypothermia. For Winter preparation information visit,, which includes links to other local, state and federal resources.
 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

For additional information on emergency preparedness information, visit our website at Follow the Office of Emergency Management and Communications on Facebook, Twitter (@ChicagoOEMC) and Instagram (chicago_oemc_911) using the hashtags #ChicagoOEMC #Smart911 #Chicago911 #BeSafeChicago.


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