City of Philadelphia Declares First Code Blue This Winter

PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia responded to the first frigid weather of the 2015-2016 winter season by declaring a Code Blue beginning at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, January 4th until approximately 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 5th.

“We have had a mild winter so far and this is the first real cold snap of the season, so I want to encourage citizens to stay indoors – wherever you may be – limit your exposure to the elements, keep warm, check in on your elderly neighbors and practice safe home heating,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.  “Most importantly, if you see someone in need, contact the appropriate authorities for help.”

City of Philadelphia departments have compiled a list of helpful cold weather tips for citizens:

Citizens should contact the Project Home Outreach Hotline (215-232-1984) if they observe a homeless person(s) in need of assistance.  During the call, citizens should provide the address, location and description of the person in need.

Winter-Proof Your Home: Residents can take steps to avoid expensive plumbing repairs, costly damage to personal property stored in unheated areas, and keep the water flowing freely in their home in the winter by following these easy-to-do tips to maintain home water systems:

  • Shut off outside water faucets from the inside valves. To drain these faucets, leave the outside valves open.
  • Keep the area around your water meter above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Wrap your water meter and its connecting pipe with insulation.
  • Caulk windows near water meters or pipes. Cover these windows with plastic.
  • Replace or cover cracked or broken windows.
  • Wrap and insulate all water pipes in unheated areas such as sheds, under kitchen floors, and in garages.
  • Let water trickle overnight in extremely cold weather to keep your pipes

from freezing.

  • If the water service line or other internal pipes freeze or break, call a plumber to thaw the frozen water in the service line or to repair the damaged or broken pipe.


If you don’t have water in your home, check with your neighbors to determine if there is an issue with the pipes in your home, or if there may be a bigger problem with a City pipe.  If many people do not have water on your block, call 3-1-1 or the Water Department to report the issue.

Prevent Fires and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Many fires and emergencies happen every year in Philadelphia because of faulty heating units. Call the Department of Licenses and Inspections at 215-686-2463 for a fire inspection if you are unsure whether your heat source is safe.  If you rent and do not have heat, contact your building owner. If your heat does not come back on within a reasonable time, contact the Department of Licenses and Inspections at 215-686-2463.

Use electric heaters with extreme caution to prevent shock, fire and burns. Keep items at least three feet from heat sources, to help prevent fire.  Never use a gas oven or burner to heat your home.

The Philadelphia Fire Code permits the use of portable kerosene heaters only in one and two family dwellings.  Portable propane heaters can only be use outdoors.  Keep heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including furniture, bedding, clothing, pets, and people.  Only use space heaters to heat a room. Never use them to cook food, dry clothes or heat water for humidification.  Always keep portable heaters away from the entrance to rooms, in case you need to get out quickly.  Don’t use extension cords with electric heaters.  If you must use an extension cord, only use a properly rated extension cord that doesn’t get hot when in use at the highest setting.

Always have a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector in rooms where you sleep, especially when using portable heaters. Test the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector to make sure they are working properly.  You should have at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home and in each bedroom.

Keep Your Pets Safe and Warm This Winter: Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.

It is against City ordinance to leave a dog outside without shelter during Code Blue conditions.  If you see a dog outside without appropriate shelter, call the Pennsylvania ASPCA at 215-426-6300.

Stay informed

  • Tune to local news for weather updates.
  • For more winter weather tips, visit the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management online at  You can also follow @PhilaOEM on Twitter or find them on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and Blogspot.
  • Other City Twitter accounts to follow for information: @PhiladelphiaGov; @Philly311; @PhilaStreets; @PhillyPolice; and @PhillyFireDept.
Posted in Alerts, Code Blue
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