Extreme Cold Temperatures Impacting Rhode Island; Warming Centers Open Throughout State for Those in Need
Cranston, RI - The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) is currently monitoring very cold temperatures impacting Rhode Island tonight and tomorrow. Rhode Islanders are urged to take precautions and be prepared as this cold air mass continues to make its way to the state.
National Weather Service forecast the temperatures to fall into the single digits overnight then recover into the teens by Friday afternoon. Wind chills will play a major factor, as they will drop temperatures below zero overnight.
"My number one priority as Governor is keeping people safe – and I want to make sure all Rhode Islanders know the resources available during this extremely cold weather," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "Please check on your family members, your neighbors and the elderly today and tomorrow and make sure they have what they need to stay warm. Let's all take care of one another and stay safe and healthy this winter."
"We urge all Rhode Islanders to take action and protect themselves from the extreme cold temperatures," said Peter Gaynor, Director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency. "If you must venture outside, dress for the conditions and in warm layers. Additionally, make sure that you have sufficient heating fuel for the next few days. If you experience a loss of your heating source and need emergency heating, contact your local municipalities or dial 2-1-1."
Due to the extreme cold, several communities have warming centers open to the public for those who need to seek temporary shelter. To view the up-to-date list of warming centers, their locations, and their hours of operation visit www.riema.ri.gov/warmingcenters.
RIEMA reminds every one of the following tips to stay safe during extreme cold: • The temperature inside your home should be set according to your own activity level, health, and medications. What is an acceptable, fuel-saving temperature for an active family may not be safe for an older person who has difficulty moving or takes certain medications. • The elderly are especially susceptible to extremely cold temperatures. Check on elderly friends, family, or neighbors frequently. • Insulate water pipes to keep them from freezing. • Keep a blanket and/or hats and gloves in your vehicle in the event you are stranded and without heat. • Remove clothing if it gets damp or wet. Wet clothing can make you more prone to hypothermia. • Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Symptoms of frostbite can include loss of feeling and loss of color and usually happens on the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Symptoms of hypothermia in adults can include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, drowsiness, or slurred speech. In infants, symptoms of hypothermia can include bright red, cold skin and low energy. • Remember: Pets get cold too! If it is too cold for you to be outside, it's too cold for your pet as well. Do not leave cats/dogs outside for prolonged periods of time.
It is also important to remember that house fires occur more frequently in the winter due to a lack of proper safety precautions when using alternate heating sources, such as unattended fires and space heaters. To prevent a dangerous fire from occurring this winter, consider the following precautionary tips:
• Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible (i.e. wallpaper, bedding, clothing, etc.) • Never leave space heaters operating when you are not in the room or when you go to bed. Do not leave children unattended near space heaters. • Refrain from drying wet clothing over a space heater. • Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly and replace batteries as necessary. • Use a fireplace screen when burning fires and burn only wood. NEVER burn paper or plastic.
For more information and for tips on preparing for the extreme cold follow RIEMA on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or visit the RIEMA website at www.riema.ri.gov.