As a deep winter chill prepares to hit Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Wednesday that he will activate the state’s severe cold weather protocol on Thursday evening.
The protocol will remain in effect through the morning of Saturday, Dec. 17 and it is the first time it has been activated this season. Temperatures over the next couple of days are forecasted to be in the single digits and wind chills below zero.
“As we experience our first bitterly cold weather of the winter season, I am activating our severe cold weather protocol to initiate essential services that will help protect our most vulnerable,” Malloy said. “Anyone in need of shelter is urged to call 2-1-1 to find the nearest available locations. I am also encouraging local communities to consider opening warming centers or other facilities to assist people in need.”
While activated, staff from the state’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), and the Department of Housing (DOH) are asked to coordinate with 2-1-1 and Connecticut’s network of shelters to ensure that the state’s most vulnerable populations are protected from the severe cold weather.
This includes the following actions:
- DESPP’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security activates its WebEOC communications network, an internet-based system that enables local, regional and state emergency management officials and first responders to share up-to-date information about a variety of situations and conditions. The system is used to monitor capacity at shelters across the state, enabling 2-1-1 to act as a clearinghouse to assist in finding shelter space for those who need it. Local officials, working through WebEOC, can alert 2-1-1 and the state when they open temporary shelters or warming centers.
- DSS and DOH coordinate with 2-1-1 and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, along with community-based providers, to provide transportation for people seeking shelter.
- DMHAS deploys teams that specialize in working with people who are homeless to locate those who are at risk, spread the word about the 2-1-1 system, and encourage them to take shelter. It also works with shelters to assess and meet the needs of individual clients.
In addition to being able to call 2-1-1 over the telephone, a regularly updated list of open shelters and warming centers across the state is made available online at 211ct.org.