Cold Weather

Winter weather can bring dangerously low temperatures, heavy snow, strong winds, ice, sleet and freezing rain.  Living without heat or being outdoors in cold weather for too long can cause serious or life-threatening problems.  From 2005-2012, there were an average of 15 cold-related deaths in New York City each year, although the number can vary depending on how severe the season. Cold temperatures can also lead to serious illness or death by worsening chronic health conditions like lung and heart disease.  Follow these tips to keep you and your family safe during cold weather:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible during severe winter weather or dangerous cold. 
    • Fill prescriptions before the start of snowfall or dangerously cold temperatures.
    • Avoid driving during heavy or blowing snow conditions.
  • If you must go outside, take steps to stay safe and warm
    • Wear layers of warm clothing and cover exposed skin.
    • Take extra care outdoors to avoid slips and falls from icy conditions; older adults are particularly at risk for injury from slips and falls.
  • Know what to do if your home has no heat or hot water.  Report immediately loss of heat or hot water to the landlord or building staff. Call 311 if the problem is not fixed.
  • Make sure your home has a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Be A Buddy - check on family, friends, and neighbors who may need extra help. 
  • Call 311 if you see someone who may be homeless and needs help. Staff from the Department of Homeless Services will check on the person.  Visit the Department of Homeless Services website for more information, including a list of shelters and other resources for homeless individuals.
  • Keep your pets safe.
  • Antifreeze is poisonous. Keep it out of reach of children and pets and wipe any spills immediately.


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