SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Cities and towns up and down the Pioneer Valley have enacted severe cold safety procedures including warming shelters.
The City is officially implementing its Cold Preparedness Plan, which puts all city departments and services on high alert for the consequences of the cold. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno told 22News that the cold weather protocol automatically triggers when temperatures drop below 20 degrees.
In short, it’s a warning to departments and services across the city in the event of an emergency like an apartment building losing heat or a fire caused by unsafe, alternative heating methods.
Mayor Sarno states, “I’d like to first thank HHS Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, our city team and our service agency partners for their continued dedicated efforts – ‘we’ve been tested and true through a number of natural and man-made disasters. In preparation for the cold weather Friday and Saturday our outreach teams will be out to try and assure there are no unhoused individuals on the streets of Springfield. We have a concrete communication plan with Police, Fire and Facilities. Our shelters will not turn anyone away during this cold snap, even if they utilize chairs or mats as a last resource. In the event a building loses heat, we will be at the ready to intervene and open a neighborhood warming place.”
The City also has its warming shelters open for everyone in the Springfield community. Mayor Sarno emphasizes over and over that no one will be turned away and they will be making thorough sweeps of city streets to make sure no one is left out in this cold.
The Springfield Rescue Mission and Friends of the Homeless will do everything humanly possible to find a bed or a cot to fill their shelters on Worthington and Taylor Streets.
“Believe it or not, we’ve been prepping for this for the past four days. We had a number of blankets that came in along with sleeping bags. We’ve already transported them to our emergency shelter at 148 Taylor Street,” said Kevin Ramsdell, Executive Director of the Springfield Rescue Mission.
“In this situation, we want to reel in people who don’t often come to the shelters and that we’re going to help somebody that used to be outside but tonight, we expect them,” said Miguel Cabrera.
The City also issued a warning to stay off lakes and ponds through this cold snap. It takes two full weeks of temperatures below 25 degrees to create safe ice.