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2018 to 2019 Plan Prepares for Activation Prior to November 15 if Weather Conditions Dictate

When the temperature forecast calls for freezing weather (below 32 degrees) Baltimore County activates the Freezing Weather Shelter Plan. This plan was put into effect as of November 1, earlier than in prior years when the Freezing Weather Shelter Plan did not take effect until November 15. This means that if the temperatures fall, Baltimore County stands ready to protect our constituents from the dangers of freezing weather by opening shelters.

“While we do not know when the temperature will drop to freezing levels we are prepared to serve people who will need to seek shelter from the cold,” said Dr. Gregory Branch, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services. “Last year we saw earlier bouts of cold weather. Our shelter activation plan takes that possibility into account and we are ready to serve Baltimore County residents who might need to seek a warm haven from the weather.”

Cold Weather Locations

As always, there are public facilities that are open during the day where people are encouraged to go to stay warm. Libraries, senior and community centers, shopping malls and places of worship make great respites from the cold weather. The County emergency shelters will be open from 6 p.m. until 9 a.m. on evenings when the temperature is below freezing.

Shelter locations include:

  • Eastern Family Resource Center            
    9150 Franklin Square Drive                                    
    Rosedale, Maryland 21237
    Map This Location
  • Westside Men’s Shelter
    309 Redwood Circle
    Catonsville, Maryland 21228
    Map This Location

Individuals are encouraged to call the County’s new resource and referral line at 410-887-TIME (8463)—option 2, to confirm activation and bed availability at these locations. Residents should arrive no later than 10 p.m. Additionally, under severe weather conditions when County offices are closed, shelter activation may be extended to include daytime hours. 

Cold Weather Reminders

The combination of low temperatures and wind chill constitute a threat, especially to certain groups of people, including older adults, children and people with respiratory or other health problems. If you are in danger or experiencing severe health issues due to the weather, call 911. Below are some basic tips to help you and your family get relief from the cold and stay safe.

Be Cautious and Prepared

  • Make sure that you have a 72-hour kit.
  • Check on the elderly and chronically ill.
  • Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure follow your doctor’s advice about exercising or working in the cold.
  • If you are hiking, camping or skiing during cold weather, avoid becoming overtired. Be extremely careful when walking in icy areas. Many cold weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered paths.

Eat Right

  • Eating well-balanced meals will help you stay warmer.
  • Do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages as they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.
  • Drink warm beverages or broth to help maintain your body temperature. If you have any dietary restrictions, consult your doctor.

Dress Warmly and Stay Dry

Adults and children should wear:

  • A hat, scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
  • Sleeves that are snug at the wrist
  • Mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
  • Water-resistant coats and boots
  • Several layers of loose-fitting clothing if you are going to be outside

Don’t Leave Your Pets Outdoors

  • During extreme weather, bring your pets indoors.
  • Remember to have an emergency plan for your pets. Most shelters do not allow pets.

If you are looking for a cool environment with access to water and bathrooms, then Baltimore County has several “cooling centers” available where you can get relief from the heat.

During the months of May through September, Baltimore County Public Library has 19 convenient branches that are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Residents can cool off while reading a book or enjoying scheduled events at a branch in their community. Visit the Baltimore County Public Library website to get more information on the library branch nearest you or call 410-887-6100.

Baltimore County Senior Centers are also open to the general public, regardless of age. Most locations are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents who visit these locations to get relief from the heat can watch TV, read a book or sit and relax. Visit the Department of Aging website for information on their 20 Senior Centers or call their Senior Center Information and Assistance line at 410-887-2594.

There are also other places you can go to cool off in Baltimore County:

  • Community Centers
  • Churches
  • Malls
  • Movie Theaters
  • Museums
  • Neighbor's home with air conditioning
  • Restaurants

“Residents need to know that the County has plenty of resources available where they can go to get cool,” said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of Health and Human Services.  “From libraries and senior centers to churches, movie theaters and malls, there is a place in every community where you can get relief from the heat, and I urge you to use them if you do not have air conditioning.”

To keep you and your family healthy and safe in the summer heat, use these hot weather tips:

  • NEVER leave a child or pet in an unattended car!
  • Check on elderly or chronically ill family members, friends and neighbors.
  • Stay hydrated with water or fruit juices. Also provide your pet with plenty of water and sheltering.
  • Limit outdoor activity when the temperatures and humidity are extremely high. 
  • Use sunscreen and reapply often when spending time outdoors.

Revised September 11, 2017