(Smyrna) – Every year, winter weather conditions cause deaths, injuries, and illnesses in Delaware, and throughout the United States. Awareness of the various hazards and ways to deal with them can make a large difference in how people are impacted.
The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) is partnering with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, NJ, multiple state agencies, the Center for Environmental Monitoring and Analysis at the University of Delaware, and the City of Wilmington, among others. During Winter Weather Awareness Week, participating agencies and organizations will provide information via social media and other venues, explaining the hazards associated with various types of winter hazards or conditions (snow, ice, extreme cold, fire safety, and pet safety), how to prepare for them, and how to stay safe during weather extremes.
Increased awareness of the dangers presented by winter weather extremes can lead to better preparedness and a better way to avoid becoming a victim of severe conditions. As we begin to experience some of the colder temperatures this week, the public is reminded that cold temperatures bring about conditions that create hazards to health and safety.
Governor Carney Urges Delawareans to Stay Safe During Heat Warnings
DOVER, Del. – Delaware, along with many other states, is in an extended heatwave with the most dangerous days to come. The National Weather Services issued an Excessive Heat Warning through Sunday night for the entire state, and the state also issued a Code Orange Air Quality Alert. Delawareans and visitors are advised to be aware of the dangers that accompany the severe temperatures, as well as ways to avoid heat-related illness or death.
“With the excessive heat warnings and air quality alerts issued for Delaware and our region, I urge all Delawareans to practice heat safety during this stretch of high temperatures,” said Governor Carney. “We want our residents and visitors to follow the advice of health officials and take steps to beat the heat. Please never leave children or pets in cars, stay hydrated, learn the signs of heat illness, and take appropriate precautions to stay safe in hot temperatures and all summer.”
Health officials also advise the public to stay in air conditioned spaces, avoid strenuous outdoor activities, wear light clothing, and drink plenty of water. Delawareans should check on vulnerable members of their families and neighbors, including seniors and those with access and functional needs.
Authorities also stress that temperatures inside a closed vehicle can rise to lethal levels quickly. Do not leave children, pets, or vulnerable adults inside closed vehicles even for a few minutes. Parents and caregivers are urged to make it a habit to check the back seat every time they exit a car.
If possible, bring outdoor pets inside. If they are outside, make sure to provide plenty of water and replace it frequently.
Additional information from the Division of Public Health:
Tips to prevent heat illness:
Do not leave people or pets alone in a parked car, even for a minute. Call 911 if you see anyone (a child, or adult with access and functional needs) who is unable to open a door or window and is left unattended in a vehicle. Keep your car locked when you’re not in it so children don’t get in on their own. If you see a pet left in a car, even with air-conditioning running, call 911 or Delaware Animal Services at 302-255-4646.
Also remember that any equipment left in a car can quickly become hot to the touch, especially metal pieces in child car seats, seatbelt handles, and wheelchairs. Check the temperature of these items prior to use to avoid potential burns.
Carry water with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks containing sugar, alcohol, or caffeine, which dehydrate the body. Check with a doctor before increasing fluid intake if you have epilepsy, heart, kidney, or liver disease, or if you are on a fluid-restrictive diet. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html for more information.
Stay indoors on the lowest floor possible. When outdoors, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Wear a hat or use an umbrella. Use sunscreen with SPF 30+. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself, and has been linked to skin cancer.
Avoid extreme temperature changes. Be careful trying to cool down too quickly; a cold shower immediately after coming in from hot temperatures can lead to hypothermia, particularly for the elderly and children. In these cases, cool water is better than ice cold water.
Limit outdoor activity, especially mid-day when the sun is hottest. Work out or hold team practices early in the morning or in the early evening. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) online course for coaches, athletic trainers, students, school nurses, parents, and teachers is available at: cdc.gov/nceh/hsb/extreme/Heat_Illness/index.html.
Heed the following heat danger warning signs and take suggested actions:
Heat cramps occur in the muscles of the limbs or abdomen during or after physical activity in high heat. Sweating results in a loss of fluids and salts that cause muscle cramps. Address heat cramps by resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water.
Heat exhaustion is more severe, occurring when a person is overheated, along with reduced or unbalanced intake of fluids. Symptoms include dehydration, fatigue, weakness, clammy skin, headache, nausea and/or vomiting, rapid breathing, irritability, and fainting. Take these simple steps to reduce heat exhaustion: Move the person indoors or into shade. Loosen or remove the person’s clothing. Encourage the person with heat exhaustion to eat and drink. Get the person to a cool shower or bath. Call your doctor for further advice.
Heat stroke occurs when the body can no longer cool itself, and can be a life-threatening event. Prompt medical treatment is required. Symptoms include: flushed, hot and dry skin with no sweating; high body temperature (above 103 degrees F, taken orally); severe, throbbing headache; weakness, dizziness, or confusion; sluggishness or fatigue; decreased responsiveness; and loss of consciousness. If heat stroke occurs, take these steps: Call 9-1-1 immediately. This is a medical emergency. Get the heat stroke victim indoors or into shade. Get the person into a cool shower or bath or wipe them down with continuously soaked cool washcloths while awaiting emergency responders.
Make a Heat Plan for Pets: DPH also urges pet owners to make a plan for caring for their pets. Animals at the greatest risk of stress from the heat include pregnant or lactating animals, very young and older animals, animals with darker coats, obese pets, short-nosed dog breeds, and animals with chronic health conditions. Signs of heat stress can include panting, increased salivation, restlessness, muscle spasms, increased heartbeat and body temperature, weakness, lack of coordination, bright red or pale and sticky gums, vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.
Pets should not be left in vehicles, even in mild temperatures: Animals kept inside a vehicle in warm or hot temperatures are susceptible to heatstroke. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the interior of a vehicle can reach 89 degrees in just 10 minutes when the temperature outside is just 70 degrees. At 80 degrees outside, a vehicle’s interior can reach 99 degrees in that time. Temperatures will continue to rise inside a vehicle, and the AVMA states that cracking windows does little to help. Call 911, or Delaware Animal Services at 302-255-4646 immediately, if you see a pet left unattended in a vehicle.
Animals should have access to shade and water when outside: The best place for pets in hot temperatures is inside the home. If a pet must be outside in the heat, make sure the animal has a shady area and fresh water to help stay cool. The interiors of cat and dog houses can get very hot in summer months and, therefore, do not provide adequate shade.
Practice caution when walking dogs in the heat: The best time of day to walk dogs in summer months is in the early morning or late evening when the sun’s heat is not as intense. A simple touch of the hand to any surface where a walk is planned will tell if it’s too hot for a dog. If it’s too hot for a human hand, it’s too hot for a dog’s paws.
Pay attention to signs of heat stroke: Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to heat stroke in high temperatures, especially if there is high humidity, increased activity or little ventilation. A dog that is drooling, excessively panting, or unsteady can be signs of heat stroke, which can be life-threatening. Seek immediate veterinary attention if your dog has become over-heated and is showing any of these symptoms.
State of Delaware Offices in Kent, New Castle Closing at 1:30 P.M.
Drivers should exercise caution on Delaware roadways
WILMINGTON, Del. – State of Delaware offices in Kent and New Castle counties will close at 1:30 p.m. due to inclement weather. Non-essential State employees who live or work in Kent or New Castle counties may leave work at 1:30 p.m. when offices close.
“Thank you to our crews from the Delaware Department of Transportation, who are continuing their work to clear roadways,” said Governor Carney. “Drivers should be mindful of crews while out on the roads and exercise caution throughout this storm.”
Motorists may monitor real-time conditions, snow plow activity, and traffic cameras by using DelDOT’s Smartphone application. The DelDOT App is available for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, and can be downloaded free. Motorists can also listen to WTMC 1380 AM for updates on road conditions.
Visit de.gov/weather for weather-related information, including school closing notifications and real-time traffic reports.
2/11/19: State offices in New Castle County will open at 10 a.m.
Monday, February 11, 2019 – 5:00 AM
Due to icy conditions on the roadways, State of Delaware offices in New Castle County will open at 10 a.m. Non-essential employees who live or work in New Castle County do not report until 10 a.m. Essential employees are to report as scheduled.
Motorists may monitor real-time conditions, snow plow activity, and traffic cameras by using DelDOT’s Smartphone application. The DelDOT App is available for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, and can be downloaded free. Search for “DelDOT” in the Apple and Google Play stores. Motorists can also listen to WTMC 1380 AM for updates on road conditions.
For answers to commonly asked questions during a storm event, please visit DelDOT’s Frequently Asked Questions for Snow Removal online at:
NEW CASTLE (Jan. 30, 2019) With Delaware facing the coldest temperatures of the winter from Wednesday night through Thursday, Code Purple is being declared across the state by the nonprofit and volunteer organizations that operate the shelters to keep people who are homeless safe during dangerous winter weather.
When severe snowstorms or sub-zero temperatures are forecast in Delaware, the organizations that manage Code Purple sites activate their shelters. The Code Purple declarations, which vary by county and site, open up additional beds and warm shelter space beyond the year-round shelter beds available across the state.
To be connected to Code Purple resources, call Delaware 2-1-1 or click the Code Purple button at www.delaware211.org. Or call the Delaware Housing Alliances Centralized Intake Line at 1-833-FIND-BED (833-346-3233). If you see someone outside who appears to be homeless, encourage them to seek emergency shelter or call a non-emergency police number to alert the police to the situation.
The wind chills across the state from Wednesday night through Thursday are expected to be below-zero, with overnight lows Wednesday through Friday not expected to climb above the teens. That means the risk for frostbite and/or hypothermia increases after even a short time outside.
“We are grateful to the series of nonprofits and volunteers that operate Code Purple shelters across our state,” said Governor John Carney. “This is the true meaning of neighbors helping neighbors.”
“The below-zero wind chills coming to Delaware will mean dangerous conditions outside,” said Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician. “We encourage anyone without a place to go to find a spot at a Code Purple shelter.”
Details about the shelters, which are organized and operated by nonprofit organizations or volunteers:
NEW CASTLE COUNTY
Wilmington and Newark: The lead agency for Code Purple in New Castle County is Friendship House, which operates two Code Purple winter sanctuary programs one in Wilmington and the other in Newark through the Newark Empowerment Center. The Wilmington program is operated in collaboration with the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army has declared Code Purple for Wednesday and Thursday nights in Wilmington at the Salvation Army building, 400 N. Orange St. Those who seek overnight housing will receive a hot snack, continental breakfast and a shower.
In Newark, Code Purple has been declared for Wednesday night, with an additional declaration expected. The Newark Empowerment Center connects people with overnight stays at a rotating group of churches when Code Purple is declared. To register and get the location, visit the center at 69 E. Main St., between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. daily. For more information, call 302-544-0165.
Code Purple has been declared in Kent County (hotline at 800-733-6816) through Jan. 31. The schedule:
Centennial United Methodist Church, 44 E. Mount Vernon St., Smyrna (5 p.m. through Jan. 31)
Peoples Church, 26 S. Bradford St., Dover (5 p.m. through Jan. 31)
Marantha Life Changing Church, 1235 E. Division St., Dover. (5 p.m. through Jan. 31)
Western Sussex: Code Purple shelters a collection of churches are open each night now through March 15, regardless of temperature. Separate shelters are operated for men and for women (with or without children). For information, call the Code Purple Hotline at 302-519-0024.
Eastern Sussex: Code Purple already is being observed regardless of weather seven days a week until spring at Immanuel Shelter, 37439 Oyster House Road, Rehoboth Beach. The shelter serves men and women. For more information, call 1-888-634-9992.