Cold Weather Tips from the City of Newark

Mayor Ras J. Baraka and the Newark Municipal Council Newark warned residents that as Newark endures temperatures as low as Minus 4 degrees this weekend, residents should take measures to ensure their safety at home and when outside of the house. Temperatures are expected to reach a high of 16 on Saturday and drop down to Minus 4 degrees that evening, breaking the record low of 0 degrees set in 1979. While temperatures are expected to rise to 15 on Sunday, the forecast calls for continued cold.


The city offered the following tips on keeping homes safe:

  • Keep sidewalks and entrances to your home free of snow and ice.
  • Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts. Keep gutters free of leaves and debris so that melting snow and ice can flow freely. Ice dams can cause water to build up and seep into your house.
  • Keep the house heated to a minimum of 68 degrees. The temperatures inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 68 degrees will not keep the inside walls from freezing.
  • Identify the locations for the main water shutoff in your home. Find out how it works in case you have to use it.
  • Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within the pipes will prevent them from freezing.
  • Check on seniors to make sure that they are warm and dry.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Check all windows and doors for drafts. Place plastic if you feel a draft.
  • Do not leave space heaters unattended.
  • Do not use generators indoors.
  • It is illegal to use kerosene heaters indoors.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.

The City offered the following additional tips on coping with extreme winter weather:

  1. Be aware of weather forecasts during the winter months. Pay attention to the temperature and the wind chill factor.
  2. Know your rights as a tenant. Landlords must furnish heat from October 1 through May 1.
  3. To report no heat or hot water in your apartment, call the Division of Code Enforcement at 973-733-6471 or 973-733-6481.
  4. Take inventory of emergency items.
    • Stock up on batteries, flashlights and canned food in case of power outage.
    • Keep a manual can opener on hand.
    • Have a battery-operated radio available.
    • Have sufficient bottled water and blankets.
  5. Watch your medical supply.
    • Keep a sufficient supply of medicines.
  6. Talk to your utility company.
    • Make sure your utility company is informed if you have electricity-operated medical equipment at home.
  7. If power is lost:
    • Keep refrigerator closed as much as possible. Food will stay frozen between 36-48 hours in fully loaded refrigerator; 24 hours in a half-filled one.
    • Unplug all appliances except one lamp in case a power surge can occur.
  8. Check your oil tank to ensure that you have enough oil to get through the storm.
  9. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:
    • Have your furnace and chimney cleaned and inspected yearly by a professional regardless of the fuel source (i.e. oil, wood, gas, coal)
    • Make sure you have proper ventilation and the exhaust pipe is free of debris before running a car engine.
  10. Be a good neighbor.
    • Check on elderly or handicapped neighbors.
    • Shovel out fire hydrants catch basins on your streets.
    • Make sure pets are protected from the cold.
  11. Avoid shoveling snow if you are elderly or have a heart condition.
  12. Hypothermia can occur when exposed to low temperatures. Your body loses heat faster than it can produce it. Warning signs in adults are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, drowsiness. However, in infants they can be bright red cold skin and very low energy. Take the person's temperature. If it is below 95°, the situation is an emergency. Get medical attention immediately.
  13. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects your nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite.
    • A white or grayish-yellow skin area.
    • Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy.
    • Numbness. A victim is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb.

If you are experiencing signs of frostbite:

    • Protect your skin from further exposure. If you’re outside, warm frostbitten hands by tucking them into your armpits. Protect your face, nose, or ears by covering the area with dry, gloved hands. Don't rub the affected area and never rub snow on frostbitten skin.
    • Get out of the cold. Once you're indoors, remove wet clothes.
    • Gradually warm frostbitten areas. Put frostbitten hands or feet in warm water — 104 to 107.6 F (40 to 42 C). Wrap or cover other areas in a warm blanket. Don't use direct heat, such as a stove, heat lamp, fireplace or heating pad, because these can cause burns before you feel them on your numb skin.
    • Don't walk on frostbitten feet or toes if possible. This further damages the tissue.
    • Get emergency medical help. If numbness or sustained pain remains during warming or if blisters develop, seek medical attention.

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