Philadelphia Fire offers tips and safety measures to be safe at home during dangerous cold blast
SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - The wind is howling and temperatures are dropping fast into the teens on Friday evening and Saturday.
Philadelphians were layered up in scarves, hats and gloves including Blue Rickman. Rickman and her mini Goldendoodle were out at Columbus Square Dog Park in South Philly.
"I am absolutely freezing," said Rickman. "I’ve got sweatpants on under my jeans, like three layers of coats. The only reason I’m out here is because I value her more than my own comfort. Tomorrow is going to be an indoor day, for sure."
The City of Philadelphia is declaring a Code Blue, which happens when the forecast shows either wind chills of 20 degrees or below, or a temperature of 32 degrees or below with precipitation.
This means the city is taking special measures, which include 24-hour outreach to find people who are living on the street and take them to safe indoor spaces, additional shelter beds and extended emergency housing hours.
The Homeless Outreach hotline at 215-232-1984 for anyone in need of shelter.
The Philadelphia Fire Department is also asking everyone to stay warm and stay safe.
Home fires happen more in the winter than any other season, and one in every five home fire deaths involves heating equipment, according to fire officials.
Anyone using a space heater should keep it three feet away from anything that can burn, like furniture, drapes and even people. Fire officials said do not leave them unattended.
"Using the ovens, the pilot, we discourage doing that. Again, we understand people are trying to keep warm, but we don’t want you to do that. It’s not safe," said Captain Derek Bowmer of the Philadelphia Fire Department. "We want to ensure that people are staying safe, vigilant about what’s in the house, stay warm and call us if you need us."
Last year, 41 people died from fire in Philadelphia and 2,000 people were displaced. Captain Bowmer said if call volumes go up this weekend, firefighters and paramedics are prepared.
Anyone in need a fire alarm installed in a home can contact the fire department by calling 311 and they will install it, no charge.