GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J., (CBS) — Several counties in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have issued a Code Blue weather emergency due to dropping temperatures.

NEW JERSEY

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Burlington County – With extremely cold conditions expected, the Burlington County Health Department declared a Code Blue Cold Weather Emergency from 10 a.m. Monday, January 4 until 10 a.m. Wednesday, January 6.

Officials say a Code Blue declaration is made in Burlington County when winter conditions pose a threat of serious harm or death to individuals without shelter. When a Code Blue is enacted it provides for short-term emergency sheltering.

Officials say individuals can call CONTACT of Burlington County at 856-234-8888 or 866-234-5006 for a list of available shelters and additional Code Blue information.

For general cold weather precautions, officials say check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter.

 

Camden County Due to the dangerously frigid temperatures expected in Camden County over the next two days, Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services, advises municipalities that Camden County will be under a Code Blue Emergency through tomorrow evening.

The Camden County Health Officer issued the Code Blue Emergency effective from 6 p.m. tonight to 7 a.m. on Jan. 5, and again from 6 p.m. on Jan. 5 to 7 a.m. on Jan. 6.

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“An arctic front is brining bitterly cold temperatures to our area, especially compared to what we have been experiencing so for this winter.  Wind chills are expected to drop below zero overnight, so everyone should be sheltered and out of the elements during this severe weather,” Rodriguez said in a news release.  “If you must leave the house, please dress yourself and your children in warm clothing, hats and gloves.  Also, please remember to check on elderly relatives and neighbors, and bring your pets indoors.”

Officials say tonight will be clear, breezy and very cold. Overnight temperatures will dip to around 10 degrees with wind chills making it feel negative 8 degrees, according to officials.  Officials say winds will be out of the north with gusts up to 25 miles per hour expected, and tomorrow night’s temperatures will remain in the teens.

Officials say when the Camden County Health Officer declares a Severe Weather Emergency, municipalities with homeless populations, situational homeless or transient populations are expected to activate their Code Blue response plan to accommodate their immediate needs.

“During these weather emergencies, we encourage everyone to check on elderly or handicapped relatives and neighbors that live alone,” Rodriguez said. “It is important that most vulnerable among us are not left without heat or electricity.”

Officials say the Camden County Health Department and the Office of Emergency Management have worked with each municipality to ensure they have the proper resources to respond to these severe weather situations as part of their individual Code Blue plans.  Each municipality has identified its own location to accommodate those in their community seeking shelter from the severe weather, according to officials.

Officials say persons seeking shelter in a warming center should contact their local municipality.  Additional resources are available by calling the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services at (800) 999-9045, or by visiting www.camdencounty.com.

The Office of Emergency Management is also monitoring conditions.

“As this weather pattern continues, please, if possible, stay indoors today to keep warm and stay out of the elements,” said Freeholder Jonathan Young in the news release. “If you must go out, please take precautions to keep you and your family safe from the extreme temperatures.”

Freeholder Young offers residents the following tips:

  • Dress in layers and cover your exposed skin to avoid frostbite.
  • It only takes 30 to 45 minutes for exposed skin to develop frostbite
  • Mittens keep children’s hands warmer than gloves.
  • Avoid wearing cotton, it holds in moisture and loses its insulating properties.
  • Remember that even clear-looking sidewalks can be slippery.
  • Keep dog walks brief, don’t leave animals outside and consider a dog coat.
  • Please check on your neighbors, especially those that are elderly, disabled or live alone.
  • Using your ceiling fan clockwise on low recirculates warm air through the room.
  • Never use a stove, oven or a gas grill to heat your home.
  • Use space heaters safely on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away. Turn off space heaters before going to bed.
  • Wood -burning fireplaces should have a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks or rolling logs. Never leave children alone in the room when a fire is lit. Keep all flammable items at least three feet away from the fireplace. Always make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid the costly repair of pipes that freeze and burst.
  • To prevent pipes from freezing, run water, even at a trickle. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, but be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
  • In order to conserve electricity, turn off lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using.
  • At night, cover windows with drapes or blankets to minimize heat loss. During the day, open blinds to let sun warm the space.

 

In case of a power outage officials say please report it directly to the appropriate utility provider list below:

 

 

 

Camden City – The City of Camden is concerned for the safety of persons who may need access to a warming shelter during extremely cold/freezing or “Code Blue” conditions as determined by the Camden County Health Officer.  During these periods of emergency “Code Blue” conditions, officials say individuals can go to the following locations:

New Life Community Development Corporation, 1721 Haddon Avenue, Camden, N.J. 08103

Joseph’s House of Camden, 555 Atlantic Avenue, Camden, NJ 08105

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North Camden Community Center, 6th & Erie, Camden, NJ 08102

PENNSYLVANIA

Bucks County –   The Bucks County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) joins the county Health Department to issue a “Code Blue” declaration extending from 7 p.m. Sunday, January 3, through 7 a.m. Wednesday, January 6. Officials say the EMA has made arrangements with the on-call churches, Woodside Presbyterian Church in Yardley and Quakertown Masonic Lodge to activate their emergency shelters. The Central Bucks shelter will open Monday night, January 4, at a location to be determined. The on-call churches will coordinate transportation, temporary shelter, food and other necessities.  Officials say County Emergency Management Director Scott Forster and Health Director Dr. David Damsker have notified local public safety officials of the Code Blue declaration. They advise all residents to be aware of the severe anticipated weather conditions. Officials say county residents are urged to check on their elderly neighbors during this period of frigid weather. Caution also should be taken with pets during the anticipated period of extremely cold temperatures. For shelter information, call the homeless hotline at 1-800-810-4434.

Montgomery County – The Montgomery County Commissioners, on the advice of the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety, have declared a Code Blue Cold Weather Emergency for Montgomery County based on a review of forecasts from the National Weather Service.

The Code Blue Declaration has been issued for Montgomery County for the period beginning at 9 p.m. on Sunday, January 3, through 9 a.m. on Wednesday, January 6.

Officials say a Code Blue Cold Weather Declaration is made in Montgomery County when winter conditions pose a threat of serious harm or death to individuals without shelter. A Code Blue is called when the combination of air temperature and wind chill is anticipated to be 20ºF or less.

For general cold weather information, officials say check the Montgomery County Health Department website.

Philadelphia — The City of Philadelphia responded to the first frigid weather of the 2015-2016 winter season by declaring a Code Blue beginning at 7 a.m. on Monday, January 4 until approximately 3 p.m. on Tuesday, January 5.

“We have had a mild winter so far and this is the first real cold snap of the season, so I want to encourage citizens to stay indoors – wherever you may be – limit your exposure to the elements, keep warm, check in on your elderly neighbors and practice safe home heating,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a news release.  “Most importantly, if you see someone in need, contact the appropriate authorities for help.”

City of Philadelphia departments have compiled a list of helpful cold weather tips for citizens:

Citizens should contact the Project Home Outreach Hotline (215-232-1984) if they observe a homeless person(s) in need of assistance.  During the call, citizens should provide the address, location and description of the person in need.

Winter-Proof Your Home: Residents can take steps to avoid expensive plumbing repairs, costly damage to personal property stored in unheated areas, and keep the water flowing freely in their home in the winter by following these easy-to-do tips to maintain home water systems:

  • Shut off outside water faucets from the inside valves. To drain these faucets, leave the outside valves open.
  • Keep the area around your water meter above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Wrap your water meter and its connecting pipe with insulation.
  • Caulk windows near water meters or pipes. Cover these windows with plastic.
  • Replace or cover cracked or broken windows.
  • Wrap and insulate all water pipes in unheated areas such as sheds, under kitchen floors, and in garages.
  • Let water trickle overnight in extremely cold weather to keep your pipes

from freezing.

  • If the water service line or other internal pipes freeze or break, call a plumber to thaw the frozen water in the service line or to repair the damaged or broken pipe.

If you don’t have water in your home, check with your neighbors to determine if there is an issue with the pipes in your home, or if there may be a bigger problem with a City pipe.  If many people do not have water on your block, call 3-1-1 or the Water Department to report the issue.

Prevent Fires and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Many fires and emergencies happen every year in Philadelphia because of faulty heating units. Call the Department of Licenses and Inspections at 215-686-2463 for a fire inspection if you are unsure whether your heat source is safe.  If you rent and do not have heat, contact your building owner. If your heat does not come back on within a reasonable time, contact the Department of Licenses and Inspections at 215-686-2463.

Use electric heaters with extreme caution to prevent shock, fire and burns. Keep items at least three feet from heat sources, to help prevent fire.  Never use a gas oven or burner to heat your home.

The Philadelphia Fire Code permits the use of portable kerosene heaters only in one and two family dwellings.  Portable propane heaters can only be use outdoors.  Keep heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including furniture, bedding, clothing, pets, and people.  Only use space heaters to heat a room. Never use them to cook food, dry clothes or heat water for humidification.  Always keep portable heaters away from the entrance to rooms, in case you need to get out quickly.  Don’t use extension cords with electric heaters.  If you must use an extension cord, only use a properly rated extension cord that doesn’t get hot when in use at the highest setting.

Always have a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector in rooms where you sleep, especially when using portable heaters. Test the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector to make sure they are working properly.  You should have at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home and in each bedroom.

Keep Your Pets Safe and Warm This Winter: Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.

It is against City ordinance to leave a dog outside without shelter during Code Blue conditions.  If you see a dog outside without appropriate shelter, call the Pennsylvania ASPCA at 215-426-6300.

Stay informed

  • Tune to local news for weather updates.
  • For more winter weather tips, visit the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management online at www.phila.gov/ready.  You can also follow @PhilaOEM on Twitter or find them on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and Blogspot.

 

Other City Twitter accounts to follow for information: @PhiladelphiaGov; @Philly311; @PhilaStreets; @PhillyPolice; and @PhillyFireDept.

 

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