Shelter, emergency officials prepare for harsh winter, snow, ice this weekend

DURHAM, NC (WTVD) – Faced with the possibility of severe weather this weekend, shelter and emergency officials are preparing in case their services are needed.

“The main thing we do is try to reach out to the community, trying to find all the homeless people who haven’t come back from time,” said Rob Tart, CEO and Chairman of Durham Rescue. Mission.

Tart said they were less concerned about falling temperatures and wind than precipitation.

“It’s hypothermia and frostbite. There have been many times when people have come in in seasons like this, they’ve hurt their hands, they’ve hurt their toes,” Tart said. .

He added that no one in need will be turned away and people do not need to register or register for programs to access shelter or a hot meal; however, they will have to leave the next morning if they are not attending a service. Tart explained that residential customers will be separated from people seeking shelter overnight due to COVID-19 concerns, adding that the pandemic has created a barrier to connecting with homeless people.

“There was just more fear. Even in those two years, there were a lot of homeless people who were afraid to walk into any type of gathering like this. And we have that. noticed,” Tart said.

On Friday, Ari Schein, County Durham’s acting emergency director, said he met with the director of public health and social services staff to discuss protocols and shelter plans.

“If you are not, for example, medically dependent or have other needs, then we can get you in. And if there are additional needs to find you a place more suitable for you, then these advertisements will be made the moment we open the shelter,” Schein said.

Schein explained that if they open their shelters, they will enforce the county’s existing mask mandate.

“There may be a quarantine or isolation section of the shelter, there may be a general population section of the shelter,” Schein said.

He urged people to change their travel plans on Sunday and stay off the roads. People should double-check flashlights and batteries and make sure they have non-perishable food, bottled water, and medication if needed.

In the event of a power outage, Schein said, people should take precautions to seek out sources of heating.

“Heaters are responsible for (many) fires, (like) the fire in new york recently into a 19-story structure. Additionally, there is carbon monoxide which will be emitted by most heaters, including your stove if you are trying to stay warm. So please, if you can’t keep up with the ability to keep warm, don’t ask for improvised methods. That’s when you need to reach out, and if we need to find you a place, we can do that,” Schein said.

Instead, people should wear sweaters, jackets, blankets, hats and gloves. Closing blinds and curtains can prevent drafts, as can placing towels or blankets near door cracks.

In the event that you need another place to stay, the CDC has suggested finding a hotel or smaller facility first rather than a large gathering place. If you seek shelter in a gathering place, be sure to bring masks and alert staff if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

For those interested in contributing to Durham’s rescue mission, they need underwear such as socks, as well as toiletries including toothpaste and toothbrushes.

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