Mayor Ras J. Baraka, the Newark Municipal Council, the Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness and the Office of Emergency Management reminds Newark residents that as cold temperatures impact the region, the City will activate operation of the “Warming Center” for residents as a temporary location of refuge from the bitter temperatures during the harsh weather. The reminder came amid weather forecasts that call for temperatures below 15° degrees. The Department of Health and Community Wellness has been monitoring the weather and based on the monitored forecast, “Code Blue” will be in effect Friday, March 10, 2017.
The center will be opened on Friday March 10, 2017, through Sunday, March 12, 2017, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. The designated location is John F. Kennedy Recreation Center located at 211 West Kinney Street in the Central Ward. Residents who go to the warming center from the cold will be guided by staff to an area where they can get warm. The center will remain open on days the weather is 15°F below. Homeless persons who come to the clinic will be assisted by social workers to get placement in shelters for the night
The Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness remind residents of the hazards of cold weather. Several layers of warm clothing and protection against moisture and wind are important, even though weather may not seem to threaten cold injury. Gloves and socks should be kept as dry as possible. Insulated boots that do not impede circulation are essential in very cold weather. Warm head covering is particularly important, since 30 percent of heat loss is from the head.
Mayor Baraka also urges residents to “Check on your neighbors, particularly the elderly and the handicapped; check your smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors, and watch out for signs of frostbite.”
The Department of Health and Community Wellness offers the following tips on coping with extreme winter weather:
1. Be aware of weather forecasts during the winter months. Pay attention to the temperature and the wind chill factor.
2. Know your rights as a tenant. Landlords must furnish heat from October 1 through May 1.
3. To report no heat or hot water in your apartment, call the Division of Code Enforcement at 973-733-6471 or 973-733-6481.
4. Take inventory of emergency items.
· Stock up on batteries, flashlights and canned food in case of power outage.
· Keep a manual can opener on hand.
· Have a battery-operated radio available.
· Have sufficient bottled water and blankets.
5. Watch your medical supply.
· Keep a sufficient supply of medicines.
6. Talk to your utility company.
· Make sure your utility company is informed if you have electricity-operated medical equipment at home.
7. If power is lost:
· Keep refrigerator closed as much as possible. Food will stay frozen between 36-48 hours in fully loaded refrigerator; 24 hours in a half-filled one.
· Unplug all appliances except one lamp in case a power surge can occur.
8. Check your oil tank to ensure that you have enough oil to get through the storm.
9. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:
· Have your furnace and chimney cleaned and inspected yearly by a professional regardless of the fuel source (i.e. oil, wood, gas, coal)
· Make sure you have proper ventilation and the exhaust pipe is free of debris before running a car engine.
10. Be a good neighbor.
· Check on elderly or handicapped neighbors.
· Shovel out fire hydrants catch basins on your streets.
· Make sure pets are protected from the cold.
11. Avoid shoveling snow if you are elderly or have a heart condition.
12. Hypothermia can occur when exposed to low temperatures. Your body loses heat faster than it can produce it. Warning signs in adults are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, drowsiness. However, in infants they can be bright red cold skin and very low energy. Take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°, the situation is an emergency. Get medical attention immediately.
13. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects your nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite:
· A white or grayish-yellow skin area.
· Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy.
· Numbness. A victim is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb.
Protect your skin from further exposure. If you’re outside, warm frostbitten hands by tucking them into your armpits. Protect your face, nose, or ears by covering the area with dry, gloved hands. Don’t rub the affected area and never rub snow on frostbitten skin.
· Get out of the cold. Once you’re indoors, remove wet clothes.
· Gradually warm frostbitten areas. Put frostbitten hands or feet in warm water — 104 to 107.6 F (40 to 42 C). Wrap or cover other areas in a warm blanket. Don’t use direct heat, such as a stove, heat lamp, fireplace or heating pad, because these can cause burns before you feel them on your numb skin.
· Don’t walk on frostbitten feet or toes if possible. This further damages the tissue.
· Get emergency medical help. If numbness or sustained pain remains during warming or if blisters develop, seek medical attention.
The Newark Fire Division offers the following tips for heating safety:
· Inspect space heaters for wear and tear. Check their emergency shut-off features and use only the recommended fuel.
· Keep combustibles, children, and pets at least three feet away from heat sources.
· Strap water heaters to the wall, 18 inches off the floor: have gas shut-off in easy reach.
· If your home has a furnace, have it inspected annually.
· Store flammable liquids far from heat.
· Oily rags can ignite without warning. Wash them in detergent and discard.
· Install at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home.
· Maintain smoke alarms with monthly testing and new batteries twice a year.
· Have a licensed electrician check the house’s wiring if lights flicker, fuses blow, or sparks fly from outlets or appliances.
· Do not overload electrical outlets; check cords for plugs and wear.
· Keep fire extinguishers labeled 2A-10BC in the kitchen and workroom, and near fireplaces.
· Cook with the least effective heat; never leave cooking unattended.
· Do not smoke in bed; install smoke alarms right outside sleeping areas.
· Have chimneys inspected each year. Burn only dry wood or manufactured logs.
· Avoid extension cords; never run them under rugs or where they may be pinched.
· Carbon Monoxide Detectors should also be installed and tested.
· Only use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
· Plug electric-powered space heaters into an outlet with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.
· Never use your oven for heating.
· Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to Newark’s municipal codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
· Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
· For fuel-burning space heaters, always use the proper fuel as specified by the manufacturer.
· Never use gasoline in any heater not approved for gasoline use.
· Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room, and use dry, seasoned wood. Allow ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container, which should be kept a safe distance from the home.
· For wood-burning stoves, install chimney connectors and chimneys, following manufacturer’s instructions of have a professional do the installation.
Anyone with questions about the City’s no-heat ordinances or any other Newark municipal policy or program can contact the Newark Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.