City of Independence, Missouri

Independence activates warming site in response to dangerously cold temps

The City of Independence has activated the Roger T. Sermon Community Center as a warming site beginning today, Jan. 19, through Thursday, Jan. 20, due to dangerous windchills in the forecast. The Warming Site will be open until 7:30 p.m. today, and from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Jan. 20. Overnight accommodations will be handled on a case-by-case basis for any individuals in need. Those needing overnight accommodations are asked to arrive no later than 7 p.m. to allow time for paperwork.

A Windchill Advisory is in effect for our area from 9 p.m. tonight, Jan. 19, through noon, Thursday, Jan. 20. Windchills are anticipated to drop as low as -20° at times overnight and through tomorrow morning. Everyone should take precautions to protect themselves and their pets from cold weather-related illnesses.

During periods of extreme cold weather young children, older adults, and the chronically ill are most at risk of having cold-related health problems. Please check on family and friends regularly during extreme weather and remember in the case of an emergency always call 9-1-1.

If the outdoors cannot be avoided, make sure the nose, ears, toes, cheeks, chin, and fingers are covered in warm dry clothing. These are the areas most at-risk for frostbite and should be always protected. Frostbite symptoms include a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy and numbness. If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.

Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. Warnings signs of hypothermia are different in adults and infants. Adult symptoms include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. Infant symptoms include bright red or cold skin and very low energy. If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95° F, the situation is an emergency — get medical attention immediately.

Pets should not be kept outdoors in these extreme temps without appropriate shelter. If pets cannot come inside, make sure they have a dry, draft-free enclosure, and access to fresh, unfrozen water. The American Veterinary Medical Associations (AVMA) recommends if your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down, or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia. Frostbite may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately. You can find more tips and suggestions to keep your pet healthy in cold weather from the AVMA here.

If you need additional information or resources, please call the City’s community partner United Way 211 line, at 2-1-1 or (816) 474-5112.