OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Arctic air is right around the corner. Along with the frigid temperatures, some Oklahomans could see snow this holiday weekend.
“It’s very important that people prepare now for these below freezing temperatures, especially considering that they’ll happen around the holiday where people might be gathering outside,” said Adam Paluka, chief public affairs officer for EMSA.
Paluka said to be prepared for the cold with lots of layers.
“We will have blankets on our trucks, we’ll have warming hand warmers and we’ll just be making sure that when we do respond that those cold exposure or hypothermia calls, we have a warm ambulance waiting for those patients and we’re able to get them the help they need as quickly as possible,” said Paluka.
The Homeless Alliance in downtown Oklahoma City is also preparing for the influx of people needing a warm place to stay during the winter months.
“We got special funding from HUD through the City of Oklahoma City to keep that open seven days a week through the end of the winter, through March 31st,” said Dan Straughan, executive director and founder of the Homeless Alliance. “So we’re really happy to be able to to do that because there will be some cold days between now and the end of the winter.”
There will be many beds available to those needing a warm place to sleep this holiday weekend, including the day shelter at the Homeless Alliance, the Salvation Army and City Rescue Mission.
But if you have a place to call home, but just need some help keeping the heat on, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services has two programs to help you out: Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Low Income Home Water Assistance Programs (LIHWAP).
“This was an additional way that we thought that we could help families who struggle this time of year, especially with extra expenses related to related to winter related to holidays,” said Deborah Smith, director of adult and family services at OKDHS.
When applying, you will need to send in your utility account numbers. If you are approved, OKDHS will send the money directly to your energy or water company.
You can apply for assistance by visiting okdhslive.org. The state has more than $38 million on hand for energy assistance and $14 million for water assistance. Last year, the state helped more than 80,000 families with energy assistance.