With temperatures expected to fall to the single digits this evening, Fairfax County officials are asking residents to prepare for the extreme cold.
The region is under a wind chill advisory from the National Weather Service beginning at 6 p.m. Monday until 6 p.m. Tuesday. The temperature and winds will make it feel like it’s 5 to 15 degrees below zero.
Here’s what the county suggests to beat the freeze:
• If you can, stay indoors where it’s warm. If you must go outside, dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, coat, mittens/gloves, hat and shoes/boots. And be sure to bring pets/companion animals inside.
• In case of snow or other wintry precipitation, be careful on walkways and roads, which can be dangerous despite appearances.
• If you see someone who looks like they may be at risk of suffering from hypothermia, call the police non-emergency number (703-691-2131). If directly addressing those who are homeless, call the Coordinated Services Planning Hotline for coordinated help (703-222-0880) or have them go to the nearest shelter directly. When temperatures are below freezing, shelters in Fairfax County operate on a no-turnaway policy.
• During extremely cold days, there is plenty residents can do to stay warm. Residents can take in a movie, stroll through a shopping center or visit one of the Fairfax County warming centers, which include libraries, community centers and the Fairfax County Government Center. Check the operating hours to ensure the facility is open before arriving.
• Residents who know individuals needing special attention are encouraged to take a few minutes to check in on them to ensure their well-being. If residents need immediate, life-saving help, call 9-1-1. For other safety help, call the public safety non-emergency phone number at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.
• Residents who need immediate help with utility bills or other urgent human services assistance can call the county’s Coordinated Services Planning staff at 703-222-0880, TTY 711. County staff can connect residents with a network of services provided by public, private and community-based organizations, as well as appropriate county government resources.
Here is more information for staying safe as the temperatures plummet:
• If you see someone unsheltered in this extreme cold weather, call 703-691-2131, TTY 711. Learn more about emergency shelters and hypothermia program here: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/homeless/hypothermia-prevention/emergency-shelter.htm.
• Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. If you must be outside, either for work or leisure, take precautions such as dressing in layers. See more here: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/hazards/winter-storm-snow-cold.htm.
• Do not leave pets outside
• Because the freezing temperatures may be deadly to pets, our animal shelter is offering temporary emergency housing for cats, dogs, and small companion animals. If you or someone you know needs to utilize this service, contact the shelter at 703-324-0208, TTY 711, or e-mail FCPDPetResources@fairfaxcounty.gov.
• More safety tips for pets in cold weather are at this link: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/living/winter/pets.htm.
• Today will be your last chance to protect your pipes from freezing or bursting. Here are more details on how to protect your pipes: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/living/winter/freezing-pipes-plumbing.htm.
• Fill up your car gas tanks — there’s less of a chance of gas lines freezing and it takes longer idling to get the cars warm before traveling.
• If you plan to use alternative heating sources such as fireplaces or portable heaters, review these safety tips: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/living/winter/alternative-heating-source.htm.