As dangerous weather hits, people asked to help the vulnerable: Here’s how to help

People were urged Wednesday to check in on their neighbors and vulnerable community members as temperatures are expected to remain low for the rest of the week.

“It is a difficult time when people can’t get out in this weather,” Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said.

Wednesday morning was bitterly cold — the temperature dropped to 2 degrees, but it was minus 15 degrees, with wind chill, said Tyler McCoy, an emergency planner with the Dayton Fire Department.

“The human body cannot sustain that more than 30 minutes without getting frostbite,” he said.

The warning came the same day an 80-year-old woman was found dead outside Bishop Fenwick High School in Middletown after she wandered away from her nearby home in Franklin Twp.

Officials also warn that very cold weather can lead to people making unsafe decisions to heat their homes.

Using open flames or cooking equipment, like ovens and stoves, to try to heat an apartment or home is very dangerous, McCoy said.

Space heaters also pose risks and should be kept away from flammable materials.

With a wind chill temperature index expected to dip repeatedly below 10 degrees, the Dayton Daily News rounded up what you need to know about how to protect yourself and help your neighbors.

ExploreSome schools on 2-hour delay due to extreme cold

Warming centers, shelters open

Dayton city officials have encouraged residents who need to escape cold during the day to visit its warming centers — the city’s three recreation centers.

The warming centers will be open Wednesday during normal business hours, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.:

• Greater Dayton Recreation Center, 2021 W. Third St., 937-333-4732

• Northwest Recreation Center, 1600 Princeton Ave., 937-333-3322

• Lohrey Recreation Center, 2366 Glenarm Ave., 937-333-3131

Community members can stay overnight at St. Vincent de Paul’s shelters.

The city has a plan in place with the Greater Dayton RTA to provide rides from the city’s rec centers to the shelters if needed, McCoy said.

St. Vincent de Paul’s shelters are:

  • For women and families at 120 W. Apple St., 937-461-7837
  • For men at 1921 S. Gettysburg Ave., 937-222-7350

The city of Dayton has activated a tier 2 cold weather emergency plan, as temperatures plunged to single digits overnight and the wind chill put temperatures into negative territory.

ExploreHow you can stay safe, healthy during extreme cold

The city has three tiers of cold weather emergency plans, which are activated when the weather is expected to be below 10 degrees or when a dangerous wind chill temperature index is forecasted.

Tier 3 is the most extreme emergency response. The city expects to be in tier 2 emergency mode overnight Wednesday, into Thursday.

The cold weather emergency plans involves coordination between the recreation centers, shelters and outside agencies.

The city’s recreation centers did not report a notable increase in visitors Tuesday night, McCoy said, and St. Vincent’s shelters are not nearing capacity. But if the shelters were to fill, the city can open one of its recreation centers to provide additional space for overnight stays.

Community members seeking warmth and food can visit these local meal sites:

  • House of Bread community kitchen, 9 Orth Ave., hours 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Life Enrichment Center, 425 Findlay St., warm meals served Tuesday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
  • Gospel Mission, 64 Burns Ave., open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 11:30 a.m.; Tuesday and Thursday at 5 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.

Heating help

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally funded program that provides eligible Ohioans assistance with their home energy bills. This one-time benefit is applied directly to the customer’s utility bill or bulk fuel bill.

Ohioans with a household income at or below 175% of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for the program. That’s an income of up to $46,375 for a family of four.

ExploreWhat is wind chill and how does it work?

People can call (800) 282-0880 or development.ohio.gov for more details.

Additional, the Miami Valley Community Action Partnership also manages the Winter Crisis Program, which provides an immediate benefit to the client’s heating bill to prevent an impending disconnection, restore disconnected services, or assist with the transfer of services. All clients applying for utility assistance will have a HEAP application processed. The partnership has more information and the application online at miamivalleycap.org, or the program can be reached at 937-514-4777.

Help needed for furnaces

Donations are needed to help with emergency furnace repairs for several Dayton area seniors.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton recently received requests to replace furnaces for five low income seniors in need after their furnaces went out. These requests are for more than their current funding allows for, so the organization is appealing for community help.

ExploreSunny, but freezing cold temperatures expected today; Chance for snow Thursday

“It’s part of our critical repair program … basically anything that has to do with making someone’s home safe, warm and dry,” said Norm Miozzi, executive director.

The nonprofit has so far raised more than $8,600 toward the goal of $35,000, or enough for at least one the furnaces. The money is being raised at daytonhabitat.org/how-to-help/.

COVID-19 tests

As the cold weather hits, residents are also starting to receive deliveries of free at-home COVID-19 tests ordered through the federal government’s covidtests.gov.

Manufacturers generally state that the tests should still perform well even if they get cold while shipping, but it’s best to keep them stored as much as possible within recommended storage temperatures listed on the box. You can keep an eye on when your test will arrive by signing up for shipping alerts when ordering, and if it gets cold, let it warm up before performing a test.