Thursday, December 18, 2014

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NY1 For You: City Official Gives Advice To Residents Stuck In Cold

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As we get further into winter, those still without heat as a result of Hurricane Sandy could face serious health issues, and a city official is offering advice for what residents stuck in the cold should do. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following report.

Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Health Dan Kass says that as the day-to-day realities of living in colder temperatures start taking their toll, some people will need to leave their homes in search of a warm place. He says the city absolutely recommends those who are still without heat make a plan.

"Cold is a hazard not just because it makes people freeze to death, but it's a hazard because it exacerbates the kinds of chronic diseases that many people live with," Kass says. "It makes asthma outcome worse. People with heart disease have worse outcomes when living with cold. And our recommendation is plan now and try to get out now."

If you're wondering where to go, Kass says to look into FEMA's temporary housing program or relocate with family and friends while you wait for heat to return. For those who decide they can't leave their homes, Kass warns that under no circumstances should you try and use unsafe heating methods.

"It's terrible to live without heat, but they can't heat with stoves and ovens, they can't use indoor propane heaters," he says. "We already know that people have been poisoned from carbon monoxide from using these kinds of things, and as it gets colder, we're particularly worried about that."

The deputy commissioner also advises avoiding makeshift electrical wiring and portable heaters because they frequently cause fires.

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