Dauphin County officials warn at-risk senior citizens of dangerously cold temperatures and remind them help is available
Dauphin County Commissioners Jeff Haste, Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick, III and the county’s Area Agency on Aging are warning older adults, particularly those with health concerns, about the record-breaking low temperatures this week and offering tips for staying safe in this weather.
“Our caseworkers and Meals on Wheels volunteers are checking on senior citizens who have health concerns, live alone or have limited mobility to make sure they are safe and to help if they need it,” said Hartwick, who has oversight of the county's Area Agency on Aging. “Extreme cold can put anyone, especially the young and old, at risk for illness or injury."
According to the National Weather Service, frigid temperatures and strong winds will combine to produce below-zero wind chills, beginning Thursday evening and continuing through Saturday.
“Please check on older family members, friends and neighbors who live alone or are homebound to make sure they have a working heater and aren’t suffering from the bitterly cold temperatures,” said Haste. “If a senior citizen needs help and doesn’t know where to turn, our Agency on Aging can help.”
Residents may call the Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging at 717-780-6130 to ask how to get help, such as heating assistance or transportation.
To see if you qualify for heating assistance in Dauphin County, call the state Assistance Office at 717-787-2324 or toll-free at 1-800-788-5616 or visit www.dhs.pa.gov.
“Winter is the worst season for residential fires,” said Pries. “Something as simple as heating your home can turn into a tragedy if you’re not careful. There are so many dangers with this deep freeze.”
The commissioners encourage residents to follow these winter-weather safety tips:
- Dress in layers and cover exposed skin to avoid frostbite or hypothermia.
- Heat your home safely – Never use a camp stove, charcoal grill, gasoline or propane heater indoors. If you are using a portable generator, you need to have a working carbon monoxide alarm in your home.
- Pay attention to pets – Do not leave pets outside for a long time.
- Prepare your home – Make sure you have the necessary tools, such as a snow shovel and rock salt. Secure exterior doors or windows that let in the cold air. Prevent pipes from freezing by keeping your home adequately heated.
- Get your vehicle ready – Make sure you have good tires, wiper blades, working headlights, snow/ice scrapers, and an emergency kit.
- Test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors.
For more safety tips, please visit www.Ready.gov.