Winter Shelter Emergency declared

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Mayor Mark Mallory and Dr. Noble Maseru, Commissioner of Health, have jointly declared that a Winter Shelter Emergency will be in effect Feb. 12 and will end on the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 16.  This means the Emergency Winter Shelter located at the Over-the-Rhine Community Center, 1715 Republic Street, will be open from 10 a.m. until 8 a.m.

Social service agencies and community organizations should refer persons who are not accepted by existing shelters to the OTR Center.

A Winter Shelter Emergency is declared when temperatures are in the single digits and/or wind chill is in the single digits for sustained periods of time; when it is determined that regular shelters are expected to be filled to capacity; and life threatening conditions could result from lack of temporary housing. In addition the Winter Shelter Emergency communication system remains activated.

The Mayor's Office, Cincinnati Health Department, Cincinnati Recreation Commission, Cincinnati Police, The Drop Inn Center, Duke Energy, the Greater Cincinnati Red Cross, and the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition are collaborating to provide temporary shelter and support services.

"We are not out of the woods yet in terms of the ongoing cold spell. We remain concerned about the health and safety of persons without adequate shelter," said Dr. Steve Englender, Director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness for the Cincinnati Health Department.

The elderly, young children, adults under the influence of alcohol, and the mentally ill are some of the most at risk populations for hypothermia, which is an abnormally low body temperature that can affect the brain and make the victim unable to think clearly or move well. Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness are all warning signs for hypothermia. Frostbite, an injury to the body caused by freezing resulting in a loss of feeling and color in affected areas such as the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes, is also a risk.

Tips from the city on staying warm:

Eat well balanced meals with plenty of carbs and avoid alcohol.

  • Limit skin exposure to the extreme cold and avoid extended periods of exposure.
  • Wear proper clothing such as a hat, scarf, sleeves that are snug at the wrist, mittens, and several layers of dry clothing.
  • If you suspect a problem with frostbite or hypothermia you should seek medical care. If body temperature is below 95 degrees it is an emergency.