Emergency Management Director and Fire Chief John F. Sullivan and the Town of Brookline warn residents of incoming arctic blast.
The forecast for Friday and Saturday, February 03-04, 2023, calls for extreme cold in Brookline, with wind chills below zero by mid-afternoon Friday, and wind chills as low as minus 20 degrees overnight into Saturday morning.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cold weather-induced illnesses such as frostbite can occur even in temperatures above 40°F if a person becomes chilled by rain or sweat, or is submerged in cold water.
The Town of Brookline wishes to share the following tips from the CDC to help keep residents safe in cold weather situations and conditions.
- When going outdoors, adults and children should wear:
- A hat scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth;
- Long sleeves that are snug at the wrist mittens (they are warmer than gloves);
- Water-resistant coat and boots;
- Residents are also reminded to layer their clothing strategically: when choosing an inner layer, wear fabrics that will hold more body heat and do not absorb moisture.
- Wool, silk, or polypropylene will hold more body heat than cotton;
- Wear a layer of clothing for insulation;
- An insulation layer will help you retain heat by trapping air close to your body;
- Natural fibers, like wool, goose down, or fleece work best;
- Select your outer layer carefully;
- The outermost layer helps protect you from wind, rain, and snow;
- It should be tightly woven, and preferably water and wind resistant, to reduce loss of body heat.
- Try to stay dry while outdoors, as wet clothing chills the body quickly.
- Excess sweating will cause your body to lose more heat, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm.
- Avoid getting gasoline or alcohol on your skin while deicing and fueling your car or using a snow blower. Getting these on your skin will cause your body to lose a lot more heat.
- Do not ignore shivering, as it is an important first sign that your body is losing heat. Constant shivering is a sign that it is time to go inside.
It is unsafe to walk over any iced bodies of water, no matter the depth or outdoor temperature.
Places to Keep Warm
The Community Room in the Public Safety Building, 350 Washington Street, will be available as a warming center, as will all three library locations and the Senior Center.
The Senior Center, located at 93 Winchester Street, is open 08:30 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. on Friday. All three libraries will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, and the Public Safety Building lobby is open 24 hours a day.
The library locations are:
- Main Library, 361 Washington Street, Brookline, MA 02445;
- Coolidge Corner Branch, 31 Pleasant Street, Brookline, MA 02445;
- Putterham Branch, 959 West Roxbury Parkway, Brookline, MA 02445;
Residents in rented apartments or condominiums should be aware that their landlords, trustees and designated property management are required to ensure that properties have the capacity for adequate heat — at least 68 degrees during the day and 64 degrees at night. Residents with malfunctioning or underperforming heating systems are encouraged to first contact the property’s responsible parties for inadequate heat issues.
If the heat issue is not addressed you should alert the Brookline Department of Public Health and Human Services Housing Complaint division at 617-730-2300 during normal business hours, or call the non-emergency public safety dispatch line at 617-730-2222, accessible 24/7.
When the temperature is extremely cold, water pipes in your home or business may freeze. To help prevent frozen pipes, take the following precautions:
- Check for open windows, air vents, and wind drafts near water pipes;
- Seal leaks in the basement foundation where cold air may enter; stuff holes with insulation; a tiny opening my cause an exposed pipe to freeze;
- Allow a slow trickle of water to flow through faucets connected to water pipes that run through unheated spaces;
- Keep sink cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes Insulate pipes in unheated spaces like garages, basements, and crawl spaces;
- Locate the water shut off valve and know how to shut off water; if a pipe bursts, shutting off the water promptly can help minimize the damage;
- If your pipes freeze, use a hair dryer to thaw the lines safely; thawing will not be fast, but it will be safe;
- Never use an open flame or heat guns to thaw pipes.
If your pipes do freeze after the meter (inside your home/business) and you experience no water conditions, please call a licensed plumber. Check different faucets to see if you can isolate the problem inside the home.
If your pipes freeze at the meter or outside the home please call the Water and Sewer Division Emergency line at 617-730-2175.
Residents should be mindful of the contact information for their utility providers, in the event of an outage:
- Eversource (electricity): 800-592-2000;
- National Grid (natural gas): 800-233-5325;
- Brookline Water & Sewer: 617-730-2175 (24-hour emergency line).
For additional information from the CDC regarding cold weather safety, please visit here.
Pet owners are also reminded to take precautions during cold weather. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), cold tolerance varies from pet to pet, and owners should be aware of their pet’s tolerance and adjust their activities accordingly. No pet should be left outside for long periods of time during below-freezing weather.
Owners should check their dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. Following a walk, owners should also wipe down their pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove chemicals such as deicers or antifreeze.
It is also recommended that you check underneath your car, bang on the hood and honk the horn before starting your car as a warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor or feral cats. For more tips regarding cold weather and animals, please visit the AVMA website here.