University Heights mayor reports city operating "as usual" despite frigid temperatures
In a Jan 6. e-mail, University Heights Mayor Susan Infeld notified residents that the city is operating "as usual," provided information on the cold-weather operations of three city departments, and offered some safety tips from the Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Infeld provided updates on police and service department (garbage collection) operations in these frigid conditions, and a recommendation from the building department to help keep pipes from freezing:
- The Police Department is monitoring the speed of vehicles and stopping them if they are travelling too fast for conditions. In general the police are issuing warnings to drivers to beware of icy road conditions, however they will issue citations as warranted. The snow ban is being enforced and the police are contacting the owners of vehicles parked on the street. If the owners cannot be contacted or do not respond within a reasonable period of time, the vehicles will be towed.
- The Building Department recommends that residents leave a cold water faucet dripping to ensure that water is moving through the pipes. This is a preventative measure to keep the pipes from freezing.
- The Service Department is continuing to collect garbage from homes. The men are taking frequent breaks to minimize their exposure to the cold conditions. The collection crews have temporarily increased in size to allow each man to spend less time in the elements. Road salt is being applied to the main streets as well as the intersections and hills on side streets to prevent icy road conditions.
The mayor provided the following recommendations for staying safe in "arctic temperatures":
- When outside, dress warmly and stay dry. Wear layers of clothing including a hat and mittens. Avoid exertion. Avoid walking on ice and keep steps and walkways free of ice.
- Minimize the time spent outdoors during extremely cold weather. Recognize warning signs of hypothermia: For adults – shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. For infants – very low energy, bright red and cold skin.
- Do not place a space heater within 3 feet of anything that may catch on fire. Be sure to use space heaters that have an automatic shut-off switch.
- Keep your car in good working order (engine tuned, antifreeze checked, tires in good condition). Keep blankets and extra clothing in your car.
- Bring pets indoors.
- Call 211 for assistance if you do not have heat and need shelter.
- If a power outage occurs, call 1-888-544-4877 (1-888-LIGHTSS) to report the outage. Do not go near a downed power line.
Mayor Infeld stated in her e-mail that if there is any change in city operations she will send out an e-mail blast and notify the community through the city's phone-notification system. She reminds residents to re-apply for the system, if they have not already done so, because the city now uses a new vendor for the phone-notification service.
Kim Sergio Inglis
Kim Sergio Inglis is editor-in-chief of the Heights Observer. She lives in the Shaker Farm Historic District in Cleveland Heights.