Cautiously cold: Officials advise care in freezing temperatures

Published on Thursday, 28 December 2017 22:45
Written by Angie DeRosa
and Skyler Frazer


NEW BRITAIN - Santa Claus may have gone back to the North Pole, but he left behind the bitter cold.

As temperatures continue to drop to single digits this week, the weather forecast shows no indication of that changing anytime soon.

Thursday had a wind chill advisory in effect with air temperatures in the single digits and a northwesterly wind of 10-20 mph, which produced wind chills ranging from zero to -20.

While Meteorologists Mark Dixon and Bruce DePrest of WFSB-TV3 report a slight warm-up for Friday, it’s still going to be cold.

Temperatures Friday will reach the upper teens and low 20s with partly sunny skies. By night fall temperatures are expected to drop down to the lower teens and single digits.

On Tuesday, Gov. Dannel Malloy issued the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol though Jan. 2.

New Britain’s active fire chief Peter Margentino said people need to pay attention to the methods they use for heating themselves in the cold weather. Fires in the winter are often caused by things like space heaters and candles.

“A lot of times they put (space heaters) too close to combustible items, which is dangerous,” Margentino told The Herald. “Never leave your candles unattended, and make sure space heaters are far enough away from things that could catch on fire.

Josh Rickman from CTtransit said the department is treating the cold weather as they would any other weather event. CTtransit takes notice when ice is forming on the roads and if there is anticipated precipitation.

“With cold weather the main concern is keeping the buses on the roads and on time,” Rickman said.

Rickman suggests people use CTtransit’s alert system to keep up to date on potential service changes, detours and other news. More information on signing up for alerts can be found at

For people braving the cold, experts say it is important to bundle up and wear lots of layers.

Scott Devico, public information officer for the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, was one of them.

“If you have to go outside during these frigid temperatures, you must dress in multiple layers of clothing…Make sure you have your face and hands covered,” Devico said.

Doctor Michelle McDade of Hospital of Central Connecticut said the emergency room has already seen a few cases of hypothermia and frostbite.

Homeless, intoxicated and elderly people are often are at the highest risk during this type of weather, said McDade.

She added that people should check on elderly neighbors or family members who may not be cognitively ok.

McDade also suggested if anyone thinks they might have frostbite or hypothermia she recommends they immediately get to a hospital because self treating at home can lead to more harm.

For anyone in need of warm shelter, they should call 2-1-1 to be directed to closest shelter location in their area.

Communications Director for the Department of Environmental and Energy Protection Chris Collibee said despite the cold, there are still plenty of opportunities for people to enjoy Connecticut outdoors.

Although the past few days have been below freezing at times, he recommended that people should still be cautious if they want to attempt ice skating or ice fishing.

Collibee said for those looking to do such an activity at a nearby pond of lake, they should check with experienced locals to ensure safety. He said just because it looks like it might be safe to be on does not necessarily mean it will be and there are a lot of factors to consider underneath the surface.

Whether going for a hike in the woods or out on the water, Collibee said being properly dressed in the right clothing and footwear will protect individuals from potential danger.

During the wintery months, it is just as important to be cautious of pets.

“If you’re cold, they’re cold,” Susan Wollschlager, marketing and communications manager for the Connecticut Humane Society, said.

She urged that pets should not be left outside during this time of year for long periods of time. Pets that do go outside for a walk or bathroom use should be brought in immediately once they’re done.

If people see a pet outside in their neighborhood or day-to-day travel, Wollschlager said they should contact Animal Control on their town and let them know if they have a concern.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Thursday, 28 December 2017 22:45. Updated: Thursday, 28 December 2017 22:47.