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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

City Reports First Storm-Related Deaths; New Shelter at Iroquois High Opens Tonight

Friday January 30, 2009

The city today had its first storm-related deaths – a family of three on Oregon Ave that apparently succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning.

They were using a generator in their attached garage. Police are on the scene this afternoon.

“We, as a city, are all very saddened by these deaths,” Mayor Jerry Abramson said. “I urge our citizens to please be very careful when using alternative heat sources.”

Carbon monoxide is deadly, and when it has collected in a high concentration, it can incapacitate an adult within seconds, said Fire Chief Gregory Frederick

“It’s critical that your generator be outside – not in an attached garage, not in a spare room or sun porch. It must be completely outside, at least 10 to 12 feet away from your home to be safe.”

Dr. Neal Richmond, head of Emergency Medical Services, said carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms mimic a host of other illnesses.

“People may think they are just tired, or are coming down with the flu or a cold,” he said.
“But the carbon monoxide will be fatal if people don’t act quickly when they feel those symptoms coming on.”

Many people may have carbon monoxide detectors in their home, but they tend to be a plug-in variety – which makes them worthless in a power outage, Richmond noted.

Red Cross shelter at Iroquois High School

Red Cross will open new shelter will at Iroquois High School at 6 p.m. today. People needing transportation to the shelter, should call MetroCall, 311. The Walnut Street Baptist Church shelter will remain open – but it will cater largely to people with special needs.

“We expect more and more people to seek shelter as the weather dips into the teens tonight, so we decided it was best to open another Red Cross location,” Abramson said.

Two suburban cities — Jeffersontown and Shively — also opened shelters today --

the Jeffersontown Senior Center, at 10631 Watterson Trail, has 25 beds and the Shively City Hall, at 3920 Dixie Highway, has 50 beds.

LG&E updates
Visit LG&E's storm update webpage for the latest numbers associated with the ice storm and to see the latest outage maps by zipcode.

Warming centers open for weekend; food and snacks served

The city is opening nine warming centers – seven community centers and three government centers – this weekend from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Sandwiches and snacks will be served, free of charge.

The locations are:

Beechmont 361-5484     205 W. Wellington Rd.

California 574-2558     1600 W. St. Catherine St.

Newburg 456-8122     4810 Exeter Ave.

Portland 776-0913     640 North 27th St.

Southwick 775-6598 3    621 Southern Ave.

South Louisville 574-3206     2911 Taylor Blvd,

Sun Valley 937-8802     6505 Bethany Lane

Government Centers

East Government Center

200 Juneau Dr.

Southwest Government Center

7219 Dixie Highway

Central Government Center

7201 Outer Loop

Fairdale Lions Club providing soup

The Fairdale Lions Club, on Mitchell Hill Rd., has power and is serving soup. Contact Pam Shofner 387-4375 for more information.

Dare to Care offering food

The Dare to Care food bank and the city’s Community Action Partnership are offering packages of food to families in need. Call MetroCall, 311, to request the food.

YMCA opens facilities for showers

The YMCA of Louisville has opened its facilities for people who wish to take showers. There is no charge. The Y has several branches across the city. Call the Y to determine the nearest location. The Mary T. Meagher pool in Crescent Hill is also open, free of charge, for people wishing to shower.

Do not call city to report bent trees; they will likely recover

Public Works Director Ted Pullen urged citizens to only call MetroCall, 311, and report trees that have broken or are downed. He noted that many trees which are simply bent by the weight of the ice will likely recover.

Roads crews are continuing to plow and salt as needed. This weekend, they will focus their attention on school routes, to ensure that those roads and streets are ready to handle buses Monday morning.

Replacement food stamps

People can apply for replacement food stamps at Neighborhood Place locations across the city.

Airport operating on normal schedule

The airport is open and operating as normal, with only one flight cancellation this morning. Passengers should call their airline prior to departing for the airport to determine if their flight is operating as scheduled. Passengers may also access and click on flight status.

Sledding in city parks dangerous

Metro Parks is strongly discouraging any recreational use of our parks, including sledding hills, because of the dangers posed by falling trees, hanging limbs, icy conditions and downed power lines. Metro Parks crews are currently focusing their efforts on clearing city streets, rather than opening parks

Shelters offer food, cots

Several other shelters are operating in addition to the Red Cross shelter at Walnut Street Baptist.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, 1026 S. Jackson Street

Healing Place – Men's Shelter, 1020 W Market St. 585-4848

Women's Shelter, 1607 W Broadway 568-6680

· must be over 18

· must be sober

· no family accommodations

· No one turned away, but beds fill quickly. Once beds fill, they have mats and chairs

Salvation Army831 S Brook St., 625-1170

· can accommodate all homeless

· includes families - although man in family may not be able to stay with rest of family

Wayside – Men’s Shelter, 432 E Jefferson, 584-3711 (answered 24/7 - call for all info)

Tips for Coping with the Cold

Tips for Staying Warm & Dry from the Louisville Metro Health & Wellness

  • Wear layers of cotton and wool clothing to help insulate the body
  • Slacks are warmer than dresses or skirts. Long socks and leotards will protect the legs.
  • Mittens will keep your hands warmer than gloves.
  • Don’t drink alcohol when outside during extreme cold temperatures.
  • Be careful shoveling snow. Overexertion may lead to a heart attack. The signs of a heart attack include chest or arm pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, pain, sweating, and dizziness.
  • Stock your vehicle with blankets, a flashlight, a tin of food that requires no cooking, jumper cables, and a sack of sand.
  • Make sure you have adequate fuel in your tank before the trip.

Tips from the Louisville Water Co to prevent water lines from freezing

· Wrap exposed pipes with insulating material. Pipes under kitchen sinks and in crawl spaces, near windows or in unheated basements are prime areas for pipes to freeze.

· Locate your inside water shut-off valve. If pipes burst during freezing conditions, you can save valuable time and prevent water damage if you can turn the water off inside the house. The shut-off valve may be located in the basement, under the kitchen sink, in a utility closet, near the hot water heater, or even under the house in the crawl space. If you cannot locate or do not have a shut-off valve, call a plumber.

· If you think you’ve found the shut-off valve, and to be sure it’s the right one, try turning it off. If all your faucets are without water, you’ve found the right one. If not, try again.

· Once you locate the shut-off valve, place a waterproof tag over it, so it's easy for you and your family members to find if there's ever a problem.

· If your house has a crawl space, cover outside vents to prevent winter winds from entering and freezing pipes.

· If your house has a slab foundation, keep the garage door closed. Water pipes are often located under the concrete floors of the garage.

· If you’ve had problems with frozen pipes in the past, try running a small steady stream of water from a cold water faucet in extremely cold weather. The cost of the water is small compared to dealing with the cost and inconvenience of frozen or burst pipes. Make sure you run the water from a faucet children don’t use — they may inadvertently shut off the faucet after using it.

Black Ice

City managers are concerned about the formation of black ice on roads. Black ice is a thin glaze of ice that forms on streets and is nearly undetectable to drivers. The ice often forms after snow melts and re-freezes, or after a period of freezing rain.

“Drivers may think the pavement just appears wet and they’ll drive at regular speed, then lose control when their tires hit a patch of that thin ice,” said Lt. Doug Sweeney of the LMPD Traffic Unit.

A four-wheel drive vehicle is no advantage when driving on ice. “You’re just as likely to spin out in your 4x4 truck as in a rear-wheel drive vehicle,” said Sweeney. “We’re urging drivers to slow down tonight and keep a considerable distance between your vehicle and other cars.”

Tips for Driving in Icy Conditions, from Police Traffic unit

· Be aware of where ice may form: icy patches are likely on bridges, overpasses, ramps and curves.

· Give yourself plenty of space between your vehicle and other nearby vehicles.

· Allow extra time to stop.

· Observe other vehicles in front of you – if you notice cars swerving for no apparent reason, it’s likely due to black ice.

· Shift into a lower gear to give yourself more traction and control.

· Test for icy patches in a safe place like a parking lot. Wiggle the tires a bit and see if you notice a change in the feel of the pavement.

· When slowing down, use short, rapid application of the brakes.

· If you skid, stay calm and turn your wheel slowly in the same direction as the skid.