Community Centers Open for Warming During Arctic Blast

With the National Weather Service warning that wind chills could hit 24 below, the city is offering tips on how to stay safe during the deep freeze.

City Hall sent out an advisory on Wednesday morning encouraging people to help vulnerable residents. For instance, if you see someone who looks like they’re in trouble from the cold, the city says to call 911 for help.

For further information on how to prepare for winter weather, please visit:

The city announced that Boston Centers for Youth & Families will remain open as warm centers throughout this cold period, during normal business hours.

Jamaica Plain’s community centers are: Curtis Hall, 20 South St. and Hennigan at 200 Heath St. Here’s a full list if you’re elsewhere in the city and need to warm up.

Here’s the city’s Web page of winter safety tips. Below are tips from the city on keeping yourself and others safe during the cold snap.

Extended periods of time outdoors can lead to hypothermia and frostbite, the body’s response to extreme weather conditions. Hypothermia, which causes an estimated 28,000 deaths each year, can also develop in moderately chilly temperatures if a person is not properly dressed.

Fortunately, the warning signs and symptoms are easy to detect:

1.     Signs of frostbite include loss of feeling and a pale appearance of the extremities (fingers, toes, ear lobes, and tip of the nose).

2.     Signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.

If symptoms of hypothermia are detected take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°, seek medical attention immediately. Get the person to a warm location. Remove wet clothing. Warm the center of the body first by wrapping the person in blankets or putting on dry clothing. Give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the person is conscious. Seek medical help immediately. At the onset of these symptoms, get in touch with a healthcare provider immediately or call 9-1-1 if symptoms are severe.

To protect yourself, remember to dress for the weather:

• Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. This will allow you to adjust to changing temperatures throughout the day. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.

• 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.

• Protect your extremities! Wear mittens over gloves if needed. Layering works for your hands as well.

• Dress children warmly and set reasonable time limits for outdoor play.

• Cover exposed skin, but do not rub the affected area in an attempt to warm it up. Seek medical help immediately.

• Restrict infants’ outdoor exposure when it is colder than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Be mindful of senior citizens—medications and problems with circulation can reduce their ability to resist hypothermia.

• Make a Family Communications Plan. Families may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how to contact one another and reconvene in the event of an emergency.

• Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.

• Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.

• Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.

• Stay indoors during the storm. Remember! Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) will remain open as warm centers throughout this cold period, during normal business hours. To find a center near you, visit: http://bit.ly/1tN2rIs.