FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol has been reactivated in anticipation of below-zero wind chills overnight, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced Thursday.
The protocol will be in effect through Friday morning. It is activated to warn people of dangerously low temperatures and to provide protection for homeless people across the state.
Temperatures should dip into the single digits overnight across Fairfield County, with wind chills near or below zero, the National Weather Service.
While activated, the protocol directs the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the Department of Housing to coordinate with 2-1-1 and Connecticut’s network of shelters to ensure that the state’s most vulnerable population are protected from the severe cold weather.
Under the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol, Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security activates its WebEOC communications network – an internet-based system that allows 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.
The Department of Social Services and the Department of Housing coordinate with 2-1-1 and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, as well as working with existing vendors to resolve transportation issues for people needing shelter during the period of severe cold.
The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has teams who specialize in working with homeless people to locate those who are at risk, spread the word about the 2-1-1 system, and encourage everyone to take advantage of the safety of shelters. The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services also works with shelters to assess and meet the needs of individual clients.