Government Police/Fire

West Hartford Office of Emergency Management: Tips for Surviving Extreme Cold

Snowflake photo by Damian McCoig on Unsplash (we-ha.com file photo)

West Hartford Fire Chief Greg Priest, who is also director of the town’s Office of Emergency Management, has provided suggestions for residents and their families to survive the extreme cold weather.


Prevent Frostbite

  • During extreme cold, wind chills can cause a more rapid onset of frostbite and hypothermia. Have water with you.
  • Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, wear layers of warm clothing.
  • Check on neighbors. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.
  • Make sure we can reach you during an emergency? Sign-up for West Hartford’s Community Advisory Notification System and our email subscriber service.
  • Visit ready.gov for information on being prepared for winter weather.

Loss of Heat, Electricity and Water

  • Make a list of places you could go if you lose water, heat, or electricity. Congregate sheltering is the last resort.
  • Have your Go-Bag ready for each person in your family.
  • Consider having a supply of masks in case you need to leave your residence.
  • Use caution with generators close to combustibles and make sure exhaust is exiting outside.
  • Don’t use gas, charcoal, or propane cooking equipment for heating.
  • Use caution with using wood fireplaces, especially if they are not used often or cleaned on regular basis. When using fireplaces, make sure the damper is fully open before starting a fire. Use caution with proximity of combustibles especially if the fireplace is unattended. Ashes must be properly disposed of, outdoors and away from combustibles.
  • Portable heaters should be plugged directly into wall outlets, not extension cords or power strips. If an extension cord must be used, ensure that it is rated for the device being used. Electric heating devices generally use a lot of power and need a larger size cord (such as an appliance extension cord).
  • Have a supply of batteries.

Freezing Pipes

  • Know locations of water shutoffs in your home.
  • Monitor unoccupied areas like attics, basements, and utility areas during extreme cold to see if any water lines are freezing.
  • Know who to contact if water pipes leak including plumbing contractors, landlords, and property maintenance agencies.

Vehicle care

  • Idling vehicles inside garages can cause carbon monoxide to enter the home.
  • Make sure the vehicle’s exhaust is properly vented.
  • Use caution when driving. Water main breaks, slippery roads and other traffic hazards can be mitigated by traveling more slowing and being alert and attentive.

Emergency Help

911 should be used for only for emergencies. The Police/Fire routine number is 860-523-5203 and can be used if there are special situations or needs.

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