Counties offer up warming stations
Bitter cold is expected to last into next week
With frigid conditions forecast for the area for the next several days, emergency management personnel in Fulton and Montgomery counties are reminding the public about available warming shelters.
According to the office of Fulton County Civil Defense-Fire Coordinator Steve Santa Maria, such facilities in the county can help.
“Right now, wehave agreements with the cities’ senior centers and both city libraries to act as warming shelters,” Santa Maria said Wednesday. “We have a very good relationship with the senior centers.”
The county official was referring to: the Gloversville Senior Citizens Center, 53 Church St.; Gloversville Public Library, temporarily relocated to 34 W. Fulton St.; Johnstown Senior Citizens Center, 109 E. Main St.; and the Johnstown Public Library, 38 S. Market St.
Santa Maria said the senior centers and libraries are used as warming shelters during business hours.
Bitterly cold temperatures are expected across east/central New York state and western New England through at least New Year’s Day, resulting in an increased risk for frostbite and hypothermia. Santa Maria’s office urges county residents to check on neighbors and the elderly. If you use alternative heating sources make sure they are listed and approved. Keep combustible material away from heat sources. Make sure your emergency supply kit is stocked and ready.
If there is an extreme problem — such as a person being homeless — he said the Fulton County Department of Social Services is notified.
“Fulton County has shelter agreements with the Red Cross,” Santa Maria added.
He said the agreement with the American Red Cross is for several people needing help through a “widespread emergency.”
“We’re in the process of revamping our shelters with the Red Cross,” he said.
Shelters for larger numbers of people would include Fulton-Montgomery Community College and private clubs, Santa Maria said.
In Montgomery County, similar help is available for coping with bitter conditions.
“We have warming locations,” Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Jeff Smith said Wednesday. “There are several. There’s varied hours.”
Warming stations in the county are: Amsterdam — Horace Inman Center, 53 Guy Park Ave.; Canajoharie — Canajoharie Library, 2 Erie Blvd.; Fultonville — Glen Town Office Building, 7 Erie St.; Fort Plain — VFW Post Home, 30 River St.; and St. Johnsville — Community House and Village Hall, 16 Washington St.
Smith’s office Facebook page states: “The Emergency Management Office and Montgomery County Public Health Department would like to make the community aware that area organizations have taken steps to help residents beat the cold and have volunteered their facilities to serve as warming stations. The warming stations will provide relief from the intense cold by providing a warm environment.”
Montgomery County also takes care of its homeless population. Smith said first responders notify 911 of homeless situations, and dispatchers then contact an on-call worker for the Montgomery County Department of Social Services.
Smith said the Governor’s Office has a “Code Blue” plan for homeless shelters, which are available if the temperature gets below 32 degrees.
Tips for dealing with extreme cold include: being aware of the wind chill factor, wear appropriate outdoor clothes, work slowly doing outdoor chores, take a buddy and emergency kit if recreating outside, and always carry a cell phone.
Santa Maria said he and Smith have been communicating this week about the possibility of needing to open a joint shelter, such as FMCC. He said it will also be a way to share resources among the two counties.
“We’re working together,” Santa Maria said.
The Fulton County Civil Defense Coordinator’s Office has partnered with local agencies that have offered to assist the community as warming stations during the cold weather. These places will offer community members with a place to go to get warm during their normal business hours. Due to the upcoming holiday, these agencies may be closed for the weekend and on Monday.
Those needing immediate assistance during the extreme cold weather may be able to get assistance from the Department of Social Services based on its criteria — (518) 736-5640. If after hours, contact the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department at its non-emergency number, (518) 736-2100, and they will contact the Department of Social Services.
Local warming stations
Senior Citizen Service Center of Gloversville and Fulton County
53 Church St., Gloversville
Hours: Monday through Friday — 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturday — 8 a.m. to noon
Sunday — Closed
Shirley J. Luck Senior Center
109 E. Main St., Johnstown
Hours: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesday — 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Friday — 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Weekends — Closed
Gloversville Public Library
34 W. Fulton St., Gloversville
Hours: Monday — 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday and Friday — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday — Closed
Johnstown Public Library
38 S. Market St., Johnstown
Hours: Sunday and Monday — 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday — 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Thursday — 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday — 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday — 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at email@example.com.