Extreme cold warnings: Don’t get caught in the cold (Updated)

by beth on January 6, 2015

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Above: One of the warnings from emergency officials is for drivers not to get caught in the extreme cold unprepared. (Image of ideally stocked trunk posted to Flickr by State Farm)

Southborough Emergency Management asked me to share news and warnings on the incoming extreme cold front to hit this week.

20150106_nws_cold_temps (900x600)Wednesday night to Thursday morning wind chill temperatures are forecasted to get as low as -20 to -25 degrees in our area. (Click on right thumbnail to see enlarged map.) And the bitter cold will linger for days.

SEM will monitor the conditions and any request for assistance from the public and/or Town Departments. If needed Southborough has plan in place to open a Warning Center within Town.

The agency advises the following actions during the severe cold period:

  • Avoid or extremely limit outside exposure – in addition to frostbite, disorientation can set in with limited warning
  • If you must go outside: Cover “All” exposed skin, Dress in layers, Stay hydrated (water, not coffee) & Tell someone where you are going and when to expect you to return.
  • Ensure you have a Winter Emergency Kit in your vehicle and have a “Full” tank of gas before any travel (even short distances)
  • Ensure you have a “Fully Charged” cell phone with you at all times (even when just getting your mail)
  • Check-in on children and elderly family/friends/neighbors as they are more susceptible to conditions.
  • In addition (at all times during the rest of the season) SEMA and all other Public Safety Departments consider “ALL ICE TO BE UNSAFE”.

Before calling the Town Services:

  1. Any citizen in situation where they lose power/heat should conduct a self-assessment of their situation. They may be able to remain at home with extra clothing and blankets until day break. The extreme cold snap will be short lived (our recommendations would change if this was a long term event)
  2. Any citizens that determine it is not safe to remain at home and have the resources and ability should first seek out relocation options themselves as provide sheltering is not a rapid process . This may include a family/friend/neighbor’s house or hotel.

CAUTIONS: Health & Fire Hazards / Water Damage:

a. CHECK: Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector batteries and operation. Add and replace units as needed

b. DO NOT take shelter in a running vehicle

c. DO NOT run heat sources inside (even with a window open) that are only designed to be outside (ex. Propane Heaters).

d. DO NOT run generators inside a home or garage (even with the doors open)

e. DO NOT improperly or over use space heaters. Heaters should not be left unattended (including while sleeping)

f. DO NOT over load electrical outlets/extension cords/power strips

g. To avoid frozen/broke pipes run water a ¼ open from a faucet on each floor. DO NOT USE HEAT OR FLAME.

Lastly & most Important: 

Any citizen who has an emergency (health issues, freezing, broken pipes, smell of smoke/electrical etc.) should IMMEDIATELY CALL 9-1-1 or 508-485-3232 (Southborough) or your local emergency services number for immediate assistance.

For the announcement from Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency with more advice, click here.

Updated (1/6/15 4:32 pm): SEMA provided updated information, including a revision of when to call for emergency services support. Those changes are incorporated above.

1 Jamie January 7, 2015 at 2:12 PM

Will school be cancelled due to the extreme cold?

2 beth January 7, 2015 at 2:31 PM

I haven’t seen any indications that’s likely to happen. I’ll certainly let people know if that changes.

3 Cleinfield Smithton January 8, 2015 at 3:44 PM

I’m glad to see the schools are open,because to see schools cancel because of the cold is rather strange. Bundle up,Toughen up!

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