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East Chicago Opens Warming Center

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February 26, 2014 — Local officials in East Chicago say rising concern over plummeting temperatures prompted them to open an area warming shelter.

The City East Chicago Emergency Management Agency says, due to the extreme cold weather, Heritage Hall Community Center at 4506 Tod Avenue East Chicago, Indiana will be a designated warming shelter from Wednesday through early Friday, open 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day.

Safety officials also urge individuals to continue to protect against frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Region residents can also find a designated public shelter by texting SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA).

Follow these FEMA tips to weather falling temperatures:

During Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

• Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack — a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.

• Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.

• Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.

• Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.

• If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
• Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.

• Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.

• If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.

Courtesy: City of East Chicago

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