Historic Cold Expected

Frigid Blast: Be Safe. Look Out for Your Neighbors

Updated 42 weeks ago David Stone
Frigid Blast: Be Safe. Look Out for Your Neighbors
Public Domain


This is not a one day event. Temperatures are expected to be bitter and dangerously low for at least the next ten days. It's an historic event that calls for your special attention to keep yourself and your neighbors safe. NYC Emergency Management has issued a Code Blue Weather Alert.

Guidance from Emergency Management:

Cold weather can cause or worsen health problems. Certain individuals, including the unsheltered homeless, people with disabilities and those with access and functional needs are at an increased risk for injuries, illness or death. Others at an increased risk also include people who drink heavily or use drugs and become incapacitated outdoors, or those who live in homes without heat, and:

  • Are 65 years of age or older. 
  • Are infants.
  • Have certain medical conditions such as heart or lung disease, high blood pressure, diabetes.
  • Have serious mental health conditions or developmental disabilities.
  • Have disabilities or access and functional needs (e.g. limited mobility, trouble leaving home).

New Yorkers are also encouraged to check on neighbors, friends, and relatives. Please take the following precautions:

Safety Tips

  • Stay indoors as much as possible. 
  • If you have to go outdoors, wear dry, warm clothing and cover exposed skin. Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered. Wear a hat, hood, scarf, and gloves.
  • Shivering is an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Shivering is a signal to return indoors.
  • Be safe at work. Workers who spend a lot of time outdoors are at risk for cold-related health impacts. If you are an employer, implement safe work practices, provide appropriate protective equipment, and train workers on how to stay safe during cold and winter weather.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Drinking alcohol may make you feel warmer but it causes your body to lose heat faster. Alcohol also impairs your judgment which limits your ability to take appropriate precautions or remove yourself from a dangerously cold environment in time. As a result, alcohol actually increases your chances of hypothermia and frostbite.

Prolonged exposure to cold can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, and can worsen existing medical conditions such as heart and lung diseases.

Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops to a dangerously low level. It can lead to death. Symptoms include: 

  • Intense shivering
  • Dizziness 
  • Trouble speaking
  • Lack of coordination
  • Sluggishness 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Confusion
  • Shallow breathing                                     

Frostbite occurs when parts of the body freeze, such as finger, toes, ears, nose, and cheeks. It can cause permanent damage. Symptoms include: 

  • Red or painful skin
  • Pale skin
  • Unusually firm or waxy skin
  • Numbness
If you lose heat or hot water and your landlord isn't responsive, by all means, call 311 and appeal for help. You are also urged to call 311 if you see anyone who appears to be homeless.   Here on Roosevelt Island, RIOC's Public Safety Department is always open at 520 Main Street, and you can call them at 212-832-4545.  
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