News Release
City Services

December 10, 2013

City Of Chicago Reminds Residents To Take Precautions As WinterWeather System Approaches, Falling Temperature Continue To Hit The Area

Melissa Stratton     312.746.9454

Molly Poppe | Dept. Streets and Sanitation or 312.339.5524


The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), Department of Streets and Sanitation, Department of Family and Support Services, Chicago Department of Public Health and Chicago Fire Department today reminded residents about the City's ability to provide services during the winter months and provided residents with tips to avoid weather and health emergencies during cold and extreme temperatures.

“As we saw on Sunday, City departments are prepared to clean streets of snow and perform well being checks this winter in all weather conditions, and we ask residents to help prepare for winter, check on their neighbors during extreme temperature and to call for assistance when necessary,” said OEMC Executive Director Gary W. Schenkel.

According to the National Weather Service, wind chill values are expected as low as -1 today, with gusts as high as 35mph. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from midnight tonight until 10:00 a.m. (CST)Wednesday. Additional snow accumulations are expected, as well as temperatures in the teens and twenties continuing through the weekend.

OEMC urges residents to prepare for cold temperatures and snowy conditions throughout the winter by taking steps, such preparing emergency kits for residences and vehicles and stocking up on necessities, which will help in emergency situations or if weather conditions become dangerous.

The City of Chicago works with the National Weather Service to monitor the weather on an ongoing basis to prepare for extreme weather as early as possible should it occur, and continues to implement, coordinate and improve plans to adapt to changing conditions to keep residents safe during the winter season.

The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) will deploy snow plows and salt
spreaders based on weather conditions. DSS manages over 9,400 lane miles of roadway and
has over 280 snow vehicles ready to go. In addition, the Department has approximately 285,000
tons of salt stationed at locations throughout the City.

Information for Homeowners, Renters

The Chicago Department of Public Health reminds residents to be cognizant of weather conditions, heed the warnings given by experts, know the implications of wind chill advisories, winter storm watches and warnings. Residents should know the signs and care of frostbite and hypothermia. Officials advise to winterize your home and vehicles, and keep cell phones charged with extra batteries for emergencies. It’s especially important for all of us to look out for each other. Please continue to check regularly on the well-being of friends, relatives and neighbors who live alone and who are elderly or have a disability. Additional winter preparation information is available at , including links to other local, state and federal resources.

The City will also be re-launching where Chicagoans can access Plow Tracker to see the location of plows in real-time during a storm and sign up to volunteer with the Snow Corp program which helps to pair volunteers with senior residents or people with disabilities who require assistance to shovel their sidewalks.

The Chicago Department of Water Management suggests acting now to make sure pipes in your home are properly insulated and not exposed to freezing air. This includes pipes in garages and unheated areas of the home. If your pipes do freeze, do not use candles or any open flame to thaw them. Use a hair dryer or heating pad.

The Chicago Heat Ordinance mandates that landlords supply heat to rental units during cold weather months. From September 15 to June 1, the temperature inside a rental residence must be at least 68 degrees during the day. During the evening, the temperatures must be at least 66 degrees. The Department of Buildings encourages residents to first contact their landlords when these temperatures are not maintained and to call 3-1-1 if no action is being taken. During extreme cold weather, however, the Building Department’s first priority is responding to heat complaints and it reassigns inspectors to handle the increased number of heat complaints.

The Chicago Fire Department does not recommend using space heaters; however, if used, be sure they are UL certified and at least 3 feet from anything that can ignite. Use of a space heater in children’s rooms should be monitored closely as children sometimes move them close to or into the bed with tragic results. If extension cords are used, they should be rated at 15 amps minimum and never put cords under carpet. With the added demand on furnaces and boilers, the Chicago Fire Department also reminds residents are required by ordinance to have working carbon monoxide detectors to protect against carbon monoxide leaks from a heating
system that could be fatal over time.

In heavy snow, the Chicago Fire Department asks that residents shovel around hydrants so the Fire Department can find them and hook a hose up faster in the event of a fire. Don’t park within 15 feet of hydrants - the house you save could be your own.

While People's Gas does not disconnect residential service during the winter months, residents are reminded that their natural gas meters need to be inspected as a safety precaution every three years. If the meter is located inside the home or building Peoples Gas will contact residents to make an appointment when the inspection is due. Failure to allow the meter to be inspected could result in disconnection, even during the cold winter months, so please ensure to respond to any letters requesting access to the meter when the inspection is due.

Peoples Gas suggests the following winter weather safety tips for residents:

• Regular inspection and servicing of your boiler/furnace will ensure it is running safely
and efficiently.
• Keep the area around natural gas appliances clutter free to avoid a fire hazard; never
store flammables near a furnace.
• Ensure natural gas appliances are correctly flued and have the correct ventilation to
avoid carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in living areas.
• When lit, make sure the flames are blue; a yellow flame could indicate the presence of
• Understand the dangers and symptoms of carbon monoxide, and have CO detectors
installed and test regularly.

OEMC encourages residents to keep an emergency kit at home and on-the-go and to keep informed of weather conditions throughout the season. For more winter weather preparedness tips, visit and to receive Chicago emergency and non-emergency notifications, register at

Warming Centers

The Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) operates six Community Service Centers located throughout the city that double as warming centers on weekdays during the winter months when temperatures fall below 32 degrees. These Community Service Centers are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Garfield Community Service Center at 10 South Kedzie, is open on a 24-hour basis to connect residents to emergency shelters.

On evenings, weekends or holidays, City-operated facilities including libraries, park facilities and police stations might also serve as warming centers if they are needed. And during the weekdays, DFSS also operates the City’s six Regional Senior Centers and 15 Satellite Senior Centers where seniors can go to keep warm in addition to taking part in numerous activities. Those seeking a warm place to go after hours should call 3-1-1. Seniors or individuals with limited mobility may call 3-1-1 to request a ride to any of the centers. And individuals requiring emergency overnight shelter or well-being checks should also call 3-1-1.

Information and a flyer containing warming center information is posted on DFSS's website and Facebook pages at and

Parking Restrictions and Overnight Bans

Motorists are advised of Chicago's annual winter Overnight Parking Ban that will be enforced through Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 3:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., regardless of snow. The Overnight Parking Ban impacts approximately 107 miles of Chicago’s streets and signage is permanently posted along the affected routes. Violators will face a minimum $150 towing fee, a $60 ticket and a storage fee of $20 per day. Vehicles in violation of the ban will be towed to Pounds 2 (10301 S. Doty Ave) or 6 (701 N. Sacramento).

Additionally, the City advises motorists of the parking restriction that may be enacted when two inches or more of snowfall have accumulated. This restriction affects an additional 500 miles of permanently posted main streets, and violators are subject to ticketing and vehicle relocation.

Cars parked in violation of the Overnight Parking Ban prevent critical routes from being fully plowed and salted when it snows. During a snowfall, a build-up of snow next to parked vehicles on these routes further reduces traffic flow.

A complete map of the Overnight Parking Ban routes can be found here:

Information for Travelers, Public Transportation Users

The Chicago Department of Aviation reminds those with travel plans through O’Hare or Midway International Airports during inclement weather to check their airline’s website for flight status before going to the airport and to plan to arrive at least two hours in advance of their scheduled flight. When severe weather causes significant delays and cancellations at the airports, travelers can receive airport-wide delay and cancellation updates by calling the CDA Media Relations Office at (773) 686-3700 and pressing 1, or by following O’Hare’s Facebook page or Twitter account @fly2ohare and Midway’s Facebook page or Twitter account @fly2midway.

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) staff is extensively trained on handling winter weather operations and will, working closely with OEMC and other City agencies, carefully monitor weather and traffic conditions to quickly adapt transit operations to changing circumstances. What’s more, CTA buses and rail system are equipped with features designed to mitigate the effects of cold temperatures and snow. CTA is also prepared to communicate timely service information to customers in the event of unplanned changes or significant delays in service through informational displays at rail stations and select bus stops; and through social media (Twitter and Facebook) and CTA’s web site. CTA also encourages customers to sign up at for free subscription service alerts to be notified of service changes or issues.
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The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications was established in 1995 to coordinate the City’s delivery of Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services resources. OEMC operates Chicago’s public safety communications system, managing emergency situations and coordinating major events, 3-1-1 City Services and 9-1-1 Communications Operations. For more information visit our website at or “like” us on Facebook at