With daily high temps barely reaching freezing, and low temps in the teens and 20’s we wanted to touch base with some pointers to help get through this cold snap. With forecast overnight wind chills in the low single digits several nights this week, we are encouraging those without shelter to seek shelter and are asking for the community’s help watching out for those who are most vulnerable to severe cold.
The forecast calls for temperatures below 30 degrees continuing for the next week. At these low temperatures there is increased risk of exposure-related injuries for unsheltered homeless people who do not have sufficient gear, such as coats, hats, gloves, footwear, tarps, sleeping bags and blankets.
Shelter space is available in Clark County by calling the Council for the Homeless at 360-695-9677. You can also call 211 at any hour of the day for the latest information about open shelters. Calls are answered in over 150 languages. You can also visit 211’s website at www.211info.org for updated information and sign up for emails or texts about updated warming center locations.
Warming Shelters: Anyone seeking shelter should call 211 info by dialing 211, toll free, from any phone. 211 will help identify the closest available shelter and transportation options. Severe weather centers will accommodate individuals and couples, pets and belongings, and do not require identification or any other documentation. Families with children seeking shelter should also call 211 and will be directed to a shelter that can accommodate children.
Persons in Need of Assistance: If you see someone outside unsheltered whose life appears to be in danger or is in an apparent medical crisis, call 9-1-1. Otherwise, if you see someone about whom you are concerned, such as not being dressed for the weather conditions, call police non-emergency 311 and request a welfare check for that person.
Donations Needed: Homeless service organizations are in need of cold weather gear – including sleeping bags, tarps, tents, blankets, hats, coats, gloves, and socks – that they can provide to people during this period of severe weather. Agencies welcome all donations, but are particularly in need of items in good condition made from warmer and more durable materials designed for outdoor use. For information about what and where to donate, please contact 211info by dialing 211 during regular business hours or by visiting their website, 211info.org.
Public Buildings: People seeking to get warm, especially during daytime hours, are encouraged to utilize public buildings that are open to the public, including, for example, libraries and community centers, which will be open regular hours starting Monday. Library hours are listed on Fort Vancouver Regional Library Webpage. Community center information can be found here.
For additional information including: hypothermia, carbon monoxide hazards and important information on the use of alternative sources of heat please see our blog post on the dangers of cold.
Other Preparedness Tidbits:
- Wrapping your pipes and covering your foundation vents
- Protecting your vulnerable plants through covering or bringing them indoors
- Pay attention to your animals that spend time outside
- Ensuring that your car is ready with chains and a 72-hour kit should you find yourself stranded or stuck
- Dress warmly for the weather (even if you’re heading out for a short trip)
In our often mild climate, don’t get caught unprepared for the next good winter storm. And remember to consider “who depends on you” as you prepare. With animals, small children or others who need additional assistance, remember they rely on you to be ready!