Freezing cold prompts advisories statewide
Updated 8:06 am, Saturday, December 30, 2017
A recent blast of freezing cold has taken hold of the Northeast, and it doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon.
The National Weather Service predicts that the arctic airmass will be entrenched over the region for at least the next week, causing temperatures to remain in the upper-teens to mid-20s with overnight lows in the lower teens to single digits.
The frigid front has been so severe it has led the state to enter Severe Cold Weather Protocol until Jan. 2.
“With bitter cold temperatures expected over the next couple of days, we must all take precautions and continue to protect the most vulnerable among us,” Governor Dannel Malloy said.
In response, the NWS and local organizations want to remind residents on how they can stay safe and warm this winter season.
In Norwalk, the Main and South Norwalk libraries are serving as warming centers for residents that need warming assistance. In Bridgeport, the Greater Bridgeport Transit Bus Terminal at 210 Water St. and will be open as a warming center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., in addition to many of the city’s libraries.
For a complete list of emergency shelters and resources across Southwestern Connecticut, residents can call United Way/ Infoline 2-1-1 or visit www.211ct.org.
Space heaters also pose a problem for those whose homes don’t have adequate heating, said Bridgeport fire officials.
Each year, there are about 25,000 house fires and 300 deaths are attributed to space heaters, mostly caused when a heater is placed too close to curtains, bedding, or upholstered furniture. In addition, 6,000 people end up in emergency rooms with burns from touching a heater’s hot surface.
To keep safe, fire officials recommend that space heaters are placed on a level, hard surface at least three feet from anything flammable. These heaters should never be left unattended while running, officials said.
As if keeping warm isn’t hard enough, the prolonged cold weather will also increase the potential for frozen or burst pipes around the region.
“Frigid temperatures are causing frozen pipes. Please maintain adequate heat in your home and business to prevent burst pipes, water damage and costly repairs,” wrote the New Canaan Fire Department Twitter account.
To prevent pipes from bursting, officials recommend that water supply lines be insulated when running through unheated areas in your home. Any cracks or holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes should also be sealed with caulk to keep the cold air out.
Officials recommend that residents try to reduce wind drafts by making sure that all exterior windows and doors are airtight. It is also advised that resident know where and how to shut off the main water supply in case of a ruptured pipe.
Even if you aren’t home, officials recommend that you leave the heat set to at least 55 degrees. Residents should also have carbon monoxide detectors installed around the house to ensure their safety.
“It is very important to have a working carbon monoxide alarm in your living space because the deadly gas can enter your home by getting in around window casings, door frames and any penetrations through outside walls,” the Connecticut Department of Public Health said.