Shelters prepare for cold weather; how you can be prepared at home

Shelters prepare for cold weather, how you can be prepared at home (KTUL)

Temperatures are going to continue to drop in the coming days.

Major Mark Harwell, Area Commander of the Salvation Army, is already preparing.

“We’ll be sure to monitor the weather very closely,” he said.

He said they always have a response plan to help those who may not have a place to go.

“As we dip below freezing, then that kind of activates our extreme weather policy,” he said. “What that entails is the door is open for anyone who needs warmth.”

He said they are particularly concerned for the elderly and families with children.

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“A situation like this will very much stretch our capacity,” Harwell said. “Typically, we already are at capacity.”

Which is where Rev. Steve Whitaker said John 3:16 comes in, opening its doors to every person who can’t fit in another shelter. He is the senior pastor and CEO of the mission.

“If they don’t have a bed, they can just lay on the benches here; that’s a whole lot better than staying outside,” he said.

They are already stocking up on food and warm drinks to prepare for the upcoming days.

“We’re concerned going into this coming weekend in particular that other sets of people may be out there and may stay out there for too long, and consequently, compromise their health,” Whitaker said.

Even Thursday’s weather was troubling to Whitaker.

“If it’s 40 degrees or below with 10 mile per hour wind, that’s killer cold,” he said. Whitaker added that the rain and snow make it worse.

“When these kinds of storms blow through, it happens quickly,” he said. “A lot of times, we see people who are in very bad condition. A few don’t make it.”

Whitaker said being proactive is key. They have gone out every day this week to warn people of the cold weather moving in.

Protecting your house, pets and plants is also important before the weekend weather hits.

Bring your pets and plants inside.

Winter crops like cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts that are planted in the ground should be covered with a frost cloth any night that dips below freezing. It protects and insulates them for the winter.

Brittany Dickinson, with Riddle Plant Farm also suggests making a list or setting a reminder the night before a freeze is supposed to hit to get plants covered or inside.

“A lot of people want to protect their plants when it’s too late, it’s after a freeze or after a really cold night, they remember their grandmother’s aloe plant got left outside,” she said. “I think it’s a great idea to try to set a reminder. If you see the forecast for the week.”

She said surprisingly enough, it’s better to water plants right before a freeze to insulate the roots.

After watering your plants, it’s always best to drain your hose, and then put a protective cover over the faucet.

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