City of Austin to open warming centers on Dec. 23-24
AUSTIN, Texas - The City of Austin plans to open several Warming Centers on Friday and Saturday to ensure cold weather resources are available for the city's most vulnerable populations.
A Warming Center is a safe place where anyone in the community can come inside to get temporary relief from the cold weather during normal operating hours.
Austin's Warming Centers will be open Friday, Dec. 23 and Saturday, Dec. 24 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Warming Center locations:
- Little Walnut Creek Branch Library, 835 W. Rundberg Ln, Austin, TX 78758
- Terrazas Branch Library, 1105 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
- Turner Roberts Recreation Center, 7201 Colony Loop Dr, Austin, TX 78724
- George Morales Dove Springs Recreation Center 5801 Ainez Dr, Austin, TX 78744
Pets are not permitted inside Warming Centers. If someone arrives with a pet, facility staff will contact Animal Services to provide pet support.
"I'm going to walk through those camps and let people know that we're opening a warming center where they can go, because we should have said subzero temperatures at subzero and freezing temperatures by noon tomorrow," says Austin Firefighters Association president, Bob Nicks.
EMS Captain Darren Nowak says there will be 24-hour resources available for the medics who are on call.
"We've already kind of upped our cold weather supplies for our medics and our stations and taken precautions to have our vehicles prepared," says Austin Travis County EMS Captain Darren Nowak.
For those who need a ride to a warming center and can't pay for transportation, no one will be denied a ride to warming center or cold weather shelter on CapMetro services.
"We're adding some single unit response capable vehicles that will be out there to provide additional transport options," says Capt. Nowak.
First responders say they have already seen environmental exposure calls and expect to see more as the temperature continues to drop in the next couple of days.
"Already seen some weather-related dangerous illnesses, injuries, and you'll see that when you get into the forties in the high thirties. But when it gets to subzero temperatures, subzero with subfreezing temperatures, it's going to be much worse and much more life-threatening," says Nicks.
Nowak says in previous winter storms they saw high calls of carbon monoxide exposures.
"We encourage people, you know, we want everybody to be warm and safe, but we want them to refrain from using improper heating mechanisms in their house," says Nicks.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent, deadly killer, you want to watch for headache, dizziness, weakness, maybe a complaint of nauseous or even vomiting. And then, of course, it comes to the alter mentation and loss of consciousness.
The City says there are several ways to help Austin's most vulnerable:
- Please contact the American Red Cross to inquire about monetary donations or volunteering at redcross.org or 1-800-REDCROSS.
- Austin Area Urban League is accepting donations such as socks and clothing for people experiencing homelessness. Supplies can be dropped at Southbridge Shelter at 2711 S. IH 35 Austin, Texas 78741. Contact Austin Area Urban League at aaul.org for more information.
- The Central Texas Food bank is accepting monetary and food donations. Most requested food items are peanut butter, canned chicken or tuna, canned low sodium vegetables, canned fruit in its own juice, dry pinto beans, brown rice, non-fat dry milk and 100% whole grain cereal. Donations can be dropped off at 6500 Metropolis Drive. Austin, Texas 78744 or see centraltexasfoodbank.org for more information or to make a monetary donation.