Dearborn Heights offers opportunities for relief from cold

Officials encourage residents to stay prepared and safe during extreme cold

HEIGHTS – Weather predictions for southeast Michigan over the next several days call for some cold conditions.

Dearborn Heights residents who are adversely affected by the cold and do not have access to heat are invited to visit any of five city facilities for temporary relief:

Caroline Kennedy Library, 24590 George Street
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

John F. Kennedy Library, 24602 Van Born
Hours: noon to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. Friday & Saturday.

Richard A. Young Recreation Center, 5400 McKinley
Hours: 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday,
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

Berwyn Senior Center, 26155 Richardson
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday.

Eton Senior Center, 4900 Pardee
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday.

At the senior facilities, seniors can take advantage of a host of both individual and organized activities:

In addition to city-owned facilities, there are several other locations in the area that serve as good places to escape the cold temporarily, such as local malls and shopping centers, museums, movie theaters, and public and university libraries.

Also during these conditions, pet owners should protect their pets from the extreme cold by keeping them in a warm, sheltered area whenever possible. If this is not possible, make sure they are in a sheltered area that is well-insulated with plenty of straw or blankets – and make sure they have access to fresh drinking water, ensuring their bowls are not frozen.

The Dearborn Heights Office of Emergency Management encourages all residents to exercise caution when going out in these conditions.

“We hope everyone takes the appropriate cautions, and exercises some good common sense” Emergency Manager & Public Information Officer Bob Ankrapp said. “We encourage our residents to continue monitoring the local weather reports and follow the appropriate steps to stay safe during these extremely cold and potentially life-threatening temperatures.”

The National Weather Service is forecasting statewide low temperatures to hover near zero, with wind chills forcing these temperatures even lower yet over the next several days – particularly during the evening hours. Exposure to these temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia.

To stay safe during cold weather:

• Stay indoors if possible. If you must go outside, wear protective gear—such as hats, mittens and gloves—in addition to a warm coat. Always protect your lungs with a scarf.

• Watch for signs of frostbite, which include loss of feeling or pale appearance of fingers, toes or face.

• Watch for signs of hypothermia, which include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, drowsiness and exhaustion.

• Understand the hazards of wind chill. As wind speed increases, heat is carried away from a person’s body more rapidly and could lead to severe hypothermia.

• Remove clothing if it gets damp or wet. Wet clothing can make you more prone to hypothermia.

• Weather-proof doors and windows to trap heat inside your home.

• Check heating units. Poorly operating or damaged heating units can release carbon monoxide gas. Test carbon monoxide detectors for proper operation and battery life.

• Check on family, friends and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance.

• Watch pets closely and keep them indoors when possible. Animals can suffer from hypothermia, frostbite and other cold weather injuries.

• Check and restock your emergency preparedness kit. If you don’t have a kit, make one.

• Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a full tank of gas and an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle. Put warm clothing—such as gloves, blankets and hats— in your kit in case you become stranded.

Michigan weather is unpredictable any time of year, but especially during the winter months. If you are stranded, do not leave your vehicle. Stay with the vehicle and wait for help.

Travelers are encouraged to go to www.michigan.gov/roadconditions and www.michigan.gov/drive to check road conditions before traveling. Road conditions are also available by calling the Michigan State Police Travel Hotline at 800-381-8477.

People who need assistance or guidance during the extreme cold are encouraged to call 211.

For more information about being prepared before, during and after an emergency or disaster, go to the “Public Safety” section of the city of Dearborn Heights website – www.ci.dearborn-heights.mi.us.