Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has issued a Frostbite Warning to ensure people take appropriate precautions before going outside and to encourage homeless people to seek shelter from the cold indoors. This warning is in effect for the evening of January 22 until the morning of January 24, 2013.
A Frostbite Warning goes into effect when:
- A wind chill of -35 or colder is predicted for the Ottawa area
- Extreme weather conditions, such as a blizzard or an ice storm is predicted
With a wind chill of -35 or colder, exposed skin can freeze in less than ten minutes. There is also an increased risk of hypothermia for people who stay outside for long periods of time without adequate protection. Overexposure can result in severe injury and even death. OPH recommends that you wear several layers of clothing to keep warm and make sure that the outer layer protects you from wind and wetness.
The homeless are particularly vulnerable to cold weather. There are many services available to help the homeless:
- Emergency sleeping spaces in Ottawa shelters
- Street outreach services to encourage homeless people to come in from the cold
- Provision of emergency transportation and other services by the Salvation Army
To seek assistance for a homeless person, concerned citizens are encouraged to call The Help for the Homeless Phone Line at 613-580-2626.
Calls are answered by the City of Ottawa Call Centre on a priority basis and referrals are made to the appropriate services.
Look for our live extreme weather updates on Twitter @OttawaHealth