City of Bloomington press release about “Cold Weather Safety and Resources”

The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian Wednesday:


January 5, 2021

For more information, please contact:

Mary Catherine Carmichael, Public Engagement Director, Office of the Mayor

[email protected] or 812-349-3406

Andrew Krebbs, Communications Director, Office of the Mayor

[email protected] or 812-349-3406

Cold Weather Safety and Resources

Bloomington, Ind.–In anticipation of the extreme cold temperatures over the next few days, the City of Bloomington advises residents for their safety to avoid prolonged outdoor exposure, and to check on elderly family members and neighbors often to assure their safety.  

Residents experiencing homelessness are encouraged to seek shelter and/or additional resources at the following locations: 

  • Beacon/Shalom Community Center: 812-334-5728, 620 South Walnut Street
  • A Friend’s Place: 812-332-1444, 919 South Rogers Street 
  • Wheeler Mission: 812-333-1905, 215 South Westplex Avenue
  • New Hope Family Shelter: 812-334-9840, 301 West Second Street
  • Amethyst House: 812-336-2812 (men’s house) or 812-336-2666 (women’s house)
  • Middle Way House: (24-hour crisis line) 812-336-0846, 338 South Washington Street

Residents may also call 211 or visit to locate resources. 

Additionally, through at least February 23, the Bloomington Fire Department will keep stations 1 and 2 open as warming stations for temporary relief during extreme weather conditions. Individuals may come in to warm up at BFD Station 1 (headquarters), 226 South College Avenue, and Station 2, 209 Fairfield Drive at any time of day or night. Overnight accommodations are not available at those locations and masks will be required while in the stations to keep everyone safe. Additional warming stations are being offered at the Monroe Fire Protection District’s Perry, Clear Creek, Indiana Creek, Bloomington, and Van Buren locations, as well as at the Ellettsville Fire Department Headquarters. 

The City offers these additional tips and information for winter weather safety:

Fire and Carbon Monoxide Safety from the Bloomington Fire Department (812-332-9763)

  • Place space heaters on a floor that is flat and level. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets. Keep the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture, and other flammable materials; and place space heaters out of the flow of foot traffic. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • To prevent the risk of fire, NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or place a space heater close to any sleeping person. Turn the heater off when you leave the area.
  • If you have a fire hydrant close to your home please clear a three foot circle around it while you are clearing snow. The time it takes the fire department to locate and clear a hydrant before it can be used is time that could be used in fighting a fire in your home or a neighbor’s home.

Home winter weather tips from City of Bloomington Utilities (812-339-1444)

  • Allow water to drip slowly from inside faucets during a freeze.  This will help keep pipes inside your home from freezing, as well as the meter and service line into your house. You can collect this water and use it for your pets or plants so it doesn’t go to waste!
  • If your sink is on an exterior wall, open cabinet doors under sinks to expose and warm the pipes running along outside walls. (Be sure there are no supplies that your pets or children will have access to while the cabinets are open.)
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Wrap all exposed pipes located outside or in unheated areas of your home.
  • Remove garden hoses from outside faucets. Insulate the faucet with Styrofoam cover, rags, or paper.
  • Cover vents around the foundation of your home.
  • Know where your property’s water cut-off valve is located and know how to use it.

What to do if you have a frozen water pipe

  • Most often, frozen pipes are those running against exterior walls or where the water enters through the foundation.
  • Apply heat to the affected area using an electric hair dryer or portable space heater. Other options include wrapping an electric heating pad or towels soaked in hot water around the pipe(s).
  • Keep the faucet open, running water through the pipe will help melt the ice.
  • Never use an open flame to thaw your pipes. Open flame torches are the most common cause of pipe thawing-related home fires.

What to do if a frozen pipe bursts

Locate the house shut-off valve and turn it off. Usually the shut-off valve is located on your water service pipeline immediately after it enters the basement wall. You should then contact a plumber for repairs.

Proper care of pets from the City of Bloomington Animal Care and Control  (812-349-3492 during business hours or 812-339-1444 after hours.)  

  • Do not leave cats and dogs outside when the temperature drops. Short-haired, very young and very old animals are especially vulnerable in cold weather. Wind chill can threaten a pet’s life. 
  • If an animal must spend extended periods of time outside, it should be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough for the animal to move around but small enough to maintain body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings, straw or other bedding.
  • Outdoor pets need more food, especially protein, in the winter because maintaining body heat depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal as your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
  • Warm engines can attract cats and other small creatures. To avoid injuring an animal, bang on your car’s hood before starting your engine.
  • Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can be potentially dangerous if ingested and can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Antifreeze is a deadly poison but has a sweet taste so be sure to wipe up spills and store it out of reach. Also, consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • Avoid leaving your pet alone in a car during cold weather for extended periods of time. Vehicles can act as a refrigerator in the winter months.
  • Do not let your dog off the leash on snow or ice because dogs can lose their scent and become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than any other season, so ensure your pet is wearing identification tags at all times.
  • If you see a pet outside during frigid weather and are concerned for their safety, please call Animal Care and Control for assistance (at the numbers above).”

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