LANCASTER – Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing in Lancaster and other parts of Los Angeles County over the next few days, prompting health officials to issue a cold weather alert.
The alert will be in effect overnight in the following areas, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health:
— Lancaster, Tuesday to Saturday;
— Mt. Wilson, Tuesday to Saturday;
— Santa Clarita Valley, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday;
— Pomona, Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Children, the elderly and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during cold weather,” Los Angeles County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said in a statement. “Extra precaution should be taken to ensure they don’t get too cold when they are outside. There are places where people can go to stay warm, such as shelters or other public facilities. We also want to remind people not to use stoves, barbecues or ovens to heat their homes due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Residents are also urged to frequently check on and help family members, friends and neighbors with limited mobility and limited access to heat, such as seniors and those who are ill, and to avoid leaving pets outdoors overnight.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority has a winter shelter program available for those who need shelter. Locations and transportation information are available online at www.lahsa.org or by calling the LA County Information line at 2-1-1 from any landline or cell phone. In the Antelope Valley, the LAHSA shelter is located at 45150 60th Street in Lancaster (High Desert MACC). To check available at the 57-bed facility, call the LA County Information line at 2-1-1 from any landline or cell phone. Transportation information is also available online at https://www.lahsa.org/winter-shelter.
People exposed to cold weather for prolonged periods can lose body heat and develop hypothermia, LA County health officials warn. Symptoms vary depending on the length of time exposed to cold temperatures. Early symptoms of hypothermia include: shivering, fatigue, loss of coordination, and confusion and disorientation. Late symptoms of hypothermia include: no shivering, blue skin, dilated pupils, slowed pulse and breathing, and loss of consciousness.
Officials also recommend the following tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning when heating the home:
- Only use approved heaters, such as electric or natural gas heaters and fireplaces.
- Never use stoves, barbecues and ovens to heat your room or home, as these appliances can produce deadly carbon monoxide gas that can collect inside your home.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home to reduce the risk of poisoning.
- If you use an outdoor generator at home, place it at least 10 feet away from all doors and windows to avoid exhaust gases entering the home.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause shortness of breath, headaches, muscle and joint pain, and nausea. Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide could lead to death within minutes. Those suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning should be taken outside, into fresh air, immediately, and should be taken to an emergency room for immediate medical treatment.
Local residents and business owners, including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, may call 2-1-1 or visit www.211la.org for emergency preparedness information and other referral services, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Deaf and hard of hearing residents should call the TDD line at 1-800-660-4026.