As the extreme cold takes hold, the City of Chicago is urging residents to take the necessary steps to stay warm and safe by using city services. In an effort to keep residents safe and warm, the City of Chicago advises residents of the following:
Dressing for the Elements: The Chicago Department of Public Health reminds residents to take extra precautions to stay warm and avoid hypothermia and frostbite. Residents should avoid unnecessary trips outside, and if it is necessary to go outside, wear several loose fitting layers of warm clothing. Make sure your cell phone is charged and keep a blanket in your car in case of an emergency.
Chicago Heat Ordinance: The Chicago Heat Ordinance mandates that landlords supply heat to rental units during cold weather months. From September 15 to June 1, the temperature inside a rental unit must be at least 68 degrees during the day and at least 66 degrees during the evening. The Department of Buildings encourages residents to first contact their landlords when these temperatures are not maintained and to call 3-1-1 if no action is being taken.
Warming Center Locations: The City has more than 160 locations that serve as warming centers for the public, including the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services Community Centers, Chicago Park District Field Houses, Chicago Public Libraries and Police Stations. Two of these facilities, the Garfield Community Service Center at 10 South Kedzie and the King Community Service Center at 4314 S. Cottage Grove will be open on a 24-hour basis to connect residents to shelter. Call 3-1-1 to find a location near you.
Shelter Bed System: The City of Chicago is adding hundreds of extra beds to its shelter system to ensure everyone in need has a safe, warm place to stay. No one in need of a shelter bed will be turned away. Homeless outreach workers will be canvassing the streets around the clock to encourage homeless residents to accept shelter.
Transportation to Resources: Any resident in need of transportation to a shelter bed or warming center can call 311.
Space Heater Safety: The Chicago Fire Department does not recommend using space heaters; however, if used, be sure they are UL certified and at least 3 feet from anything that can ignite. Use of a space heater in children’s rooms should be monitored closely as children sometimes move them close to or into the bed. If extension cords are used, they should be rated at 15 amps minimum and never put cords under carpet.
Thawing Frozen Pipes: The Chicago Department of Water Management encourages residents to make sure pipes are properly insulated and not exposed to freezing air. If pipes do freeze, do not use candles or any open flame to thaw them; instead, use a hair dryer or heating pad.