The City of Chicago Encourages Residents to Be Prepared and Utilize City Services and Resources During This Winter
The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) encourages residents to be prepared for the Winter Season. Public safety is the top priority and staying safe during the winter months requires taking steps now to winterize our homes and cars and prepare our families when the cold, wind, ice, and snow comes our way.
“OEMC is committed to working with City departments and our partners to assist residents and vulnerable populations heading into the winter season,” said Jose Tirado, Acting Executive Director of OEMC. “It’s our goal to ensure residents are prepared ahead of the cold and snow. We will continue to monitor conditions throughout the season and will coordinate the City’s response during any emergencies and extreme weather conditions we may experience.”
The National Weather Service (NWS) is predicting Chicago’s winter to be warmer and drier than normal. However, it’s important to be prepared and stay informed. OEMC will keep the public informed when certain thresholds set by the National Weather Service are reached. These triggers are as follows:
• Winter Weather Advisory: Potentially dangerous winter weather is expected within the next 12-36 hours; Travel difficulties expected.
• Winter Storm Watch: Chance for high-end winter impacts are increasing and possible. Issued within 36-48 hours in advance of conditions.
• Winter Storm Warning: Dangerous winter weather is expected in the next 12-36 hours or is occurring; Travel problems are expected.
• Blizzard Warning: Severe winter weather is expected in the next 12-36 hours or is occurring – including white out conditions. Do not travel.
• Snow Squall Warning: Rapid onset, brief, intense bursts of snow and strong winds with significant threat to travelers. Delay travel. For additional Winter preparedness, visit weather.gov/safety/winter-ww for additional preparedness tips.
Get ready now for winter conditions for your family, home, and vehicles. Severe cold temperatures, strong winds and snow can cause additional hazards, whether home or traveling, so it’s important to stay informed. OEMC issues several alerts and notifications to keep people up to date on weather conditions and emergencies. • Notify Chicago: Sign up for emergency alerts at www.NotifyChicago.org
• CHILAKE: For lakefront notices including flooding, TEXT “CHILAKE” to 7-8-0-1-5
• CHIBIZ: Business updates, TEXT “CHIBIZ” to 6-7-2-8-3
ChicagoOEMC App (video) – Winter Weather Preparedness and Weather Forecasts
For Winter safety and preparedness at your fingertips, residents are encouraged to download the Chicago OEMC App. The public safety tool provides safety information, preparedness tips, emergency alerts, weather information, DSS Snowplow Tracker and more in the palm of your hand. Users will also have access to current forecasts, radar, and public safety information as well. The app is available through the Apple App and Google Play stores or visit the website, Chicago.gov/OEMC.
Warming Centers The Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) activates warming areas at the City’s six community service centers when temps are at 32 degrees or below.
• The warming areas are open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Additional facilities are also available as needed. This includes participating Chicago Public Library locations and Chicago Park District facilities during business hours.
• The Garfield Community Service Center at 10 South Kedzie, is open on a 24-hour basis to connect families and residents to emergency shelter.
• Those seeking a warm place to go after hours can also call 3-1-1 to be connected with available services. Individuals requiring emergency overnight shelter should also call 3-1-1, visit 311.Chicago.gov or download the CHI311 app to ensure residents are aware of the City's designated warming areas. Residents are also encouraged to check on relatives, neighbors and friends during a winter weather emergency.
• A list of community service center locations is available along with information and multilingual fliers containing warming center information in English, Spanish and Polish also are posted on DFSS's website at Chicago.gov/FSS or you can visit this link - City of Chicago Warming Centers.
Cold-Weather Tips: Are You Ready? (video) and Are You Ready for Cold Weather (video)
• 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.
• Residents should know the signs and care of frostbite and hypothermia. For Winter preparation information visit, Chicago.gov/OEMC for details and 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 cloth.
• Keep your head, hands and feet covered when outdoor.
• 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.
The City’s winter overnight parking ban goes into effect beginning Friday, December 1, 2023 through April 1, 2024 to ensure the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) crews can quickly salt and plow the streets during a winter storm. The ban impacts approximately 107 miles of Chicago streets daily from 3:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., and signage is permanently posted along the affected routes. Residents are encouraged to check the posted street signs for parking restrictions. DSS manages more than 9,400 lane miles of roadway and maintains a fleet of over 300 snow vehicles that are fully prepared to respond if needed. DSS is also prepared with 425,000 tons of salt stationed at salt piles throughout the city.
The Department of Transportation (CDOT) reminds all home, business, and property owners to clear snow from all sidewalks adjacent to their property, including any crosswalk ramps. Snow should not be shoveled into the right-of-way, which includes transit stops and bus pads, parking spaces, bike lanes, bike racks, Divvy stations, and any other space where snow impedes traffic of any kind. Property owners responsible for a corner lot must remove snow and ice from sidewalks on all sides of the building and from corner sidewalk ramps. CDOT is responsible for salting and plowing the more than 40 miles of protected bike lanes in Chicago. The public can report uncleared sidewalks and bike lanes by calling 3-1-1, visiting 311.Chicago.gov, or by using the CHI 311 app.
Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP) is reminding business licensees that it is their duty to remove sidewalk snow and ice as outlined in the Municipal Code of Chicago 4-4-310 and 10-8-180. Each licensee must remove snow and ice from the sidewalk abutting the licensed premises and any sidewalk ramps intersecting such sidewalks, creating a clear path of at least five feet in width. Businesses that do not comply can face fines. Once any amount of snow has accumulated, sidewalk café permittees with sidewalk cafes on the street-side of the sidewalk must remove their cafes from the public way until the snow is removed. Permittees with sidewalk cafes on the building-side of the sidewalk must remove their sidewalk cafes from the public way once two inches of snow has accumulated until the snow is removed.
Family and Home Safety As the City braces for cold temperatures and winter weather, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) would like to caution residents to take care of themselves and to aid 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. Cold weather puts extra strain on the heart – be careful with outdoor physical activities in the winter like shoveling snow, especially if you have high blood pressure or heart disease. CDPH is also reminding residents to get their updated COVID-19 booster shot, and that it’s not too late to get a flu shot. We all need to do our part to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. Residents can find flu shot locations at chicago.gov/flu and COVID-19 vaccines at Chicago.gov/COVIDVax
The Chicago Fire Department 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.
The Department of Water Management reminds residents to prevent frozen pipes, make sure that warm air is circulating throughout the home and keep a trickle of water running. If pipes freeze, do not use candles or any open flame to thaw them. Use a hair dryer or heating pad. For more info visit www.chicago.gov/water
Chicago Animal Care and Control reminds residents that winter is a season of bitter cold and numbing wetness. Help your pets remain happy and healthy during the colder months by following these simple guidelines. Don't leave dogs outdoors when the temperature drops. Most dogs, and all cats, are safer indoors, except when taken out for exercise. Regardless of the season, shorthaired, very young or old dogs and all cats should never be left outside without supervision. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater or coat during walks.
“In the event of severe weather, ComEd takes proactive steps to be ready to work quickly and safely to restore power to any customers who lose service,” said Terence Donnelly, president and COO of ComEd. “We recognize that any outage is inconvenient for our customers, which is why we continue to make investments to harden the power grid and improve resilience to storms, especially as they become more frequent and severe due to climate change.”
ComEd urges customers to contact the company immediately if they experience a power outage. Customers can text OUT to 26633 (COMED) to report an outage and receive restoration information and can follow the company on Twitter @ComEd or on Facebook at Facebook.com/ComEd. Customers can also call 1-800 EDISON1 (1-800-334-7661), or report outages via the website at ComEd.com/report. Spanish-speaking customers should call 1-800-95-LUCES (1-800-955-8237).
Public safety is paramount. ComEd offers the following tips and information encourage customers to stay safe following severe weather:
· If you encounter a downed power line, immediately call ComEd at 1-800-EDISON-1 (1-800-334-7661).Spanish-speaking customers should call 1-800-95-LUCES (1-800-955-8237).
· Never approach a downed power line. Always assume a power line is energized and extremely dangerous.
· In the event of an outage, do not approach ComEd crews working to restore power to ask about restoration times. Crews may be working on live electrical equipment, and the perimeter of
· Check on elderly and other family members and neighbors to ensure their safety and make alternate arrangements in the event of an outage.
Peoples Gas advises that if you smell gas or think a gas line is damaged, leave the area immediately and call this number from a safe location: 866.556.6002.
• Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. It could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Have your boiler/furnace inspected regularly and make sure all natural gas appliances have proper ventilation. Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors and test them regularly. Understand the dangers and symptoms of carbon monoxide. Keep the area around your furnace and water heater free of clutter and flammable items.
• Gently remove snow and ice from outside natural gas meters by hand or with a broom to avoid damage to the equipment. Remove overhead icicles to prevent dripping water from refreezing on your natural gas meters and pipes. Keep your walkway leading to the meter clear for accessibility in an emergency.
• Peoples Gas is here to help customers struggling to keep up with bills. Go to peoplesgasdelivery.com, use our app, or call us to discuss flexible payment plans and budget billing. Income-eligible customers may also qualify for financial assistance. To see if you are eligible and apply, call the Community Economic Development Association (CEDA) at 800-571-2332.
Suspicious Activity: If you See Something Say Something. OEMC reminds the public to be aware of their surroundings and to report suspicious activity. If you notice something suspicious, notify onsite security or call 9-1-1. If You See Something, Say Something™ is a national anti-terrorism public awareness campaign that emphasizes the importance of reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities.
For additional information on emergency preparedness information, visit the OEMC website at Chicago.gov/OEMC. Follow the Office of Emergency Management and Communications on Facebook(@coemc), Twitter (@ChicagoOEMC) and Instagram (chicago_oemc_911).