Keep neighbors in mind during extreme temps
by Rory Doyle
Jan 17, 2013 | 1168 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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As the freezing temperatures continue over Bolivar County, citizens are encouraged to take extra care by checking on neighbors — especially the elderly and disabled.

The unfortunate truth is that some locals suffer with inadequate heating in the winter and insufficient air conditioning in the summer.

"It's a good idea to check on the elderly, handicapped or even people living alone in cold weather like this," said Bolivar County Sheriff Kelvin Williams. "If you think someone might need assistance, please check on them.

"If you haven’t heard from someone in a day or two, and you have a true concern about their safety, you can contact the Bolivar County Sheriff Department and we will check on them."

Williams added that if the caller has access to a key or some method of entering the house it would assist the sheriff's department greatly.

Cleveland Ward 2 alderman Robert Sanders said it's about extending a caring hand to fellow neighbors.

"It's very important we're checking on our residents to make sure they have enough heating in these frigid temperatures," said Sanders. "I'd advise this anytime we have weather conditions like this.

"People also need to be aware that there are agencies out there who can assist with this issue. At the state level there's the Department of Human Services Division of Aging, and at the county level, assistance can be sought from the Bolivar County Community Action Agency."

Sharone Oliver, director of the BCCAA Aging Program, said grant funding allows the agency to support utility needs for underserved elderly.

"Through the CSBG LIHEAP grant we can provide utility assistance for light and gas," said Oliver. "Those who need help can call Kizzie Miller at Bolivar County Community Action at 662-846-1491 x 141."

The U.S. Department of Health And Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following tips for heating homes safely:

•If you plan to use a wood stove, fireplace, or space heater, be extremely careful. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions

• Use fireplace, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside and do not leak flue gas into the indoor air space.

• Do not burn paper in a fireplace.

• Ensure adequate ventilation if you must use a kerosene heater.

• Use only the type of fuel your heater is designed to use — don’t substitute.

• Do not place a space heater within 3 feet of anything that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture, or bedding and never cover your space heater.

• Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.

• Never leave children unattended near a space heater.

• Make sure that the cord of an electric space heater is not a tripping hazard but do not run the cord under carpets or rugs.

• Avoid using extension cords to plug in your space heater.

• If your space heater has a damaged electrical cord or produces sparks, do not use it.

• Store a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher near the area to be heated.

• Protect yourself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector and never using generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices indoors.

Conserving heat is also a big part of the battle. If you don’t need extra ventilation, keep as much heat as possible inside your home.

Avoid unnecessary opening of doors or windows. Close off unneeded rooms, stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors, and close draperies or cover windows with blankets at night.