Warming center opening in Greencastle

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

A warming center is opening in Greencastle this evening as the thermometer continues to go down.

The emergency shelter will open at 5 p.m. in Community Grace Church, 17 N. Washington St. There will be rooms for families and individuals. Anyone living homeless or without adequate heat can come to the shelter. The Greencastle center will stay open until 8 a.m. Tuesday. For more information, call 717-830-2260 or 717-597-1663.

Community Grace Church is operating the shelter as part of the Franklin County Emergency Services safety network. With the temperatures heading towards record lows this week there is another warming center opening in Franklin County. The Borough of Chambersburg will be opening at the Eugene C. Clarke Jr. Community Center, 235 S. Third St. from 3 p.m. Monday until 11 a.m. Wednesday. Coffee or hot chocolate will be available. The center is open to senior citizens and others at risk for cold-related illnesses.

Some safety tips for extreme cold are as follows:

— Be prepared.

— Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.

— Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.

— Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.

— Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). Be alert to changing weather conditions.

— Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.

— Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.

— Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.

— Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.

— Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.

— Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.

— If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).

— Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects

— Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.

— If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF

For more information about any of these topics, the following resources may be helpful:

— National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter/index.shtml

— FEMA: http://www.fema.gov/

— American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/

For additional assistance, contact the Department of Emergency Services at 717 264 2813.