MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Wednesday, December 14th held a news conference to provide cold weather safety information. He asked that everyone exercise common sense, and take care of themselves in the cold. He asked that we make sure to keep an eye on the most vulnerable. This, as a Wind Chill ADVISORY is set to take effect at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday.
The FOX6 Weather Experts said highs would be in the teens Wednesday, and it would feel below zero at times. Wind chills were expected at 15 to 25 below on Wednesday. On Thursday, December 15th, even colder air arrives -- with highs expected in the single digits and sub-zero lows.
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Staying in heated areas is the easiest way to protect yourself during periods of extreme cold.
You should consider visiting public buildings like malls, libraries and community centers if your home is insufficiently heated.
Call 211 for information about resources specific to your area.
There are several warming shelters available throughout Milwaukee County:
Warming Rooms in Milwaukee County
- Repairers of the Breach
1335 W Vliet Street in Milwaukee
Open from 8:00 p.m.-4:00 a.m.
Walk-in from 8:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. for entry
- Tippecanoe Church
125 W Saveland Avenue in Milwaukee
Call 211 for entry
- Feeding His Flock
1610 S. 81st Street in West Allis
Open when temperatures are 10 degrees or below, 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Walk-in for entry
- Guest House of Milwaukee
1216 N 13th Street in Milwaukee
Call 211 for entry
Daytime Warming Rooms in Milwaukee County
- Salvation Army Daytime Warming Rooms
8853 S. Howell in Milwaukee
Open 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. M-F
Walk-in for entry or call 414-762-3993
4129 W Villard in Milwaukee
Open 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. M-F
Walk-in for entry
- All’s Bright Warming Center
5555 W. Capitol Drive in Milwaukee
Open when temperatures are 20 degrees or below, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Call 414-731-1174 for entry
- Other Shelters in Milwaukee County
Call 211 for information about places to stay warm, including emergency shelter options that are available year-round.
Officials say the most vulnerable when it comes to the bitter cold are children, the elderly, and of course, the homeless. On average, there can be 200-250 people living on the streets in Milwaukee.
"We are working very closely with our local homeless shelters. Our focus is making sure we have enough capacity with some of the warming rooms," Rafael Acevedo said.
Mayor Barrett reminded residents to always check on elderly relatives and neighbors throughout the season, and especially during extreme temperature events.
"Make sure to check on family members and friends, neighbors -- the elderly, the disabled, and people who have nobody living with them," Mayor Barrett said.
Colder weather can put the elderly at higher risk for health problems.
Mayor Barrett on Wednesday stressed that everyone follow basic winter safety tips -- like dressing appropriately for the weather -- wearing gloves, scarves, hats and jackets, and it's important to limit skin exposure to the bitter cold.
"Hypothermia is a life-threatening situation and it occurs when body temperatures drop too low, causing shivering, drowsiness and confusion.The cold wind chills will cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes to exposed skin. Cover those ears. Gloves. Wear those mittens. Wear those hats. Again -- this is all basic stuff," Barrett said.
It's also a good idea to keep a survival kit in your vehicle with blankets and extra clothing in case you become stranded -- and remember, it's a good idea to keep your vehicle secured at all times.
"Do not keep your car running unless you are in it. This is the time of year we see an increase in auto thefts," Barrett said.
If you'd like to help those less fortunate, you can donate jackets, blankets and non-perishable food items at any shelter or warming room.
You can stay safe all winter long by following these health and safety tips:
- Be Prepared:
- Have furnaces checked annually before winter to ensure they are working efficiently and safely.
- Pay attention to local news and weather reports. If you know of someone who may not be aware of weather warnings, including individuals with hearing loss, share the information with them.
- Create a cold-weather preparedness kit for your family that includes:
- Candles and matches
- Hand-cranked or battery-operated flashlight and radio
- Cellular phone
- Extra batteries
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Extra clothing
- High-calorie non-perishable food
- Extra food and water for pets
- First aid kits and any medications you require
- Tool kit
2. Stay safe at home:
- Heat your home with devices approved for indoor use, and ensure they are properly vented to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning or fires. Never use wood-burning or coal-burning grills, camp stoves, or other outdoor devices indoors. Remember to keep flammable materials such as newspapers or clothing away from portable heaters.
- Make sure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.
- Be prepared for power outages in your neighborhood. This can be due to wind or ice. Have blankets and warm clothing on hand to keep you warm. A preparedness kit is good to have around.
3. Stay safe outdoors:
- When heading outdoors, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Wear appropriate outdoor clothing and ensure that exposed skin is covered, including your fingers, nose, and ears. Keep children indoors.
- Be aware of the symptoms of both frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite can occur within minutes when unprotected skin is exposed to very cold temperatures, causing the affected area to appear white or grayish-yellow in color and feel firm or waxy. Hypothermia is life-threatening, and occurs when the body temperature drops too low, causing shivering, drowsiness, clumsiness and confusion. Both require immediate medical treatment.
- Do not touch metal surfaces with uncovered hands. Flesh can freeze instantly to a surface.
- If you have pets, bring them inside and ensure trips outside are brief.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol causes the body to lose its heat more rapidly – even though one may feel warmer after drinking alcoholic beverages.
4. Stay safe when traveling:
- Make a car survival kit that includes blankets, sleeping bags, extra clothing and high-energy foods.
- Ensure that your vehicle’s fuel tank is at least half-full and that the battery is charged.