BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With temperatures expected to feel like they will be in the teens overnight, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa has issued a code blue extreme cold alert for Christmas night into Dec. 26.

“With dangerously cold temperatures expected in Baltimore, I am issuing a Code Blue Extreme Cold declaration beginning Friday evening through Saturday morning. I encourage residents to stay indoors, especially those most vulnerable to cold,” said Dr. Dzirasa.

“Extreme cold temperatures can permanently injure, or even kill. Please be sure to check on neighbors who you think may be at risk to ensure that they have heat and power, and take care to shelter pets appropriately,” she continued.

Wind chills are expected to be 13 degrees and below and conditions will be severe enough to present a threat to the life and health of vulnerable Baltimoreans.

There have been three cold-related deaths in Baltimore so far this year.

When there’s an alert, city agencies work together to:

  • Distribute meals to at-risk senior citizens
  • Provide home weatherization services
  • Help individuals apply for energy assistance
  • Provide additional cold weather education and outreach efforts

The mayor’s office of homeless services also works with shelters to extend hours and expand bed capacity.

Here are some cold-weather tips:

  • Wear multiple layers of loose-fitting clothing.
  • Always wear a head covering, like a hat and/or scarf, when outdoors.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Protect yourself against falls in icy or snowy conditions by walking slowly and avoiding steps or curbs with ice on them.
  • Check on those who are most vulnerable including children, the elderly, and/or chronically ill.
  • Provide appropriate shelter for domestic animals.

Other Tips for Keeping Safe in Cold Weather:

  • Keep space heaters and candles away from flammable materials, such as curtains, furniture, and loose clothing.
  • Check your carbon monoxide detector and make sure it’s working.
  • Do not use prohibited heat or power sources inside your home, such as stoves or generators. They may cause fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Do not leave your car running in a closed space such as a garage.

If you need assistance, residents can call 410-545-0900 or visit Energy Assistance Program website.

Older residents or caregivers can call Maryland Access Point at 410-396-CARE for assistance completing and mailing energy assistance applications.

For other cold-related inquiries and service requests, or to find a nearby homeless shelter, residents can call 311 or 211.

CBS Baltimore Staff