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City Communications Office

City of Kansas City, Mo.

http://www.kcmo.org

CONTACT: Mary Charles, city communications officer, (816) 513-1356

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 7, 2010

City urges cold weather safety

Due to the ongoing cold weather, the City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department reminds the public to protect themselves and others from the extreme cold.

With snow on the ground and very low temperatures, many residents may not have left their homes for nearly two weeks. Residents should check on family, friends and neighbors daily while the cold weather lasts to make sure they are safe in their homes and not in need of help.

When possible, stay inside out of the cold. If it is necessary to go outside, stay dry and warm by wearing layers of loose clothing, a hat or cap, and some sort of waterproof and windproof outer layer.

Be cautious when using space heaters in homes. Electric space heaters can overheat and become fire hazards. When using portable gas stoves or heaters indoors, make sure to have adequate ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and keep stoves or heaters several feet away from drapes, furniture, or other things that can catch on fire.

Residents without heat in their homes can call the United Way at 2-1-1 for information on the nearest open warming shelters or utilities assistance programs. Renters of homes or apartments who lose heat can contact the City’s 3-1-1 Action Center for assistance with contacting landlords. The 3-1-1 Action Center, a division of the City Manager’s Office, can be reached at 311 or (816) 513-1313. Regular business hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Information also can be submitted to the 3-1-1 Action Center online at http://www.kcmo.org.

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Try to use battery-powered lamps or flashlights instead of candles if electricity is lost. If using candles, do not leave them unattended.

When using a gas or kerosene powered generator, make sure it is either outside or in a very well-ventilated area to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Just opening a window or door or using a fan will not prevent carbon monoxide from building up indoors.

Leave water taps on slightly so that they drip, and open cabinet doors around water pipes to help prevent freezing.

Eat well-balanced meals. Do not drink alcoholic beverages, as they cause heat to be lost more rapidly. Instead, drink warm, sweet beverages like hot chocolate or sweetened coffee or tea to help maintain a warm body temperature.

The City is in regular contact with partner agencies such as the Salvation Army and United Way of Greater Kansas City to provide safe options during the extremely cold weather.

Media inquiries on this topic should be directed to Jeff Hershberger, public information officer for the Health Department, (816) 840-2548 (pager).

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