HARTFORD, CT) – In anticipation of overnight temperatures in the teens and single digits over the next several days, Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday announced he will activate the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol.
“As New Englanders, we know the winter season often brings bitter cold temperatures that put our most vulnerable residents at risk,” said Governor Malloy. “I urge anyone in need of shelter to call 2-1-1 and encourage local communities to consider opening warming centers or other facilities to help people in need.”
While activated, the Protocol directs the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS), the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), and the Department of Housing (DOH) to coordinate with 2-1-1 and Connecticut’s network of shelters to ensure that the state’s most vulnerable population are protected from the severe cold weather.
Under the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol, DEMHS activates its WebEOC communications network – an internet-based system that allows local, regional and state emergency management officials and first responders to share up-to-date information about a variety of situations and conditions. The system is used to monitor capacity at shelters across the state, enabling 2-1-1 to act as a clearinghouse to assist in finding shelter space for those who need it. Local officials, working through WebEOC, can alert 2-1-1 and the state when they open temporary shelters or warming centers.
DSS and DOH coordinate with 2-1-1 and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, as well as working with existing vendors to resolve transportation issues for people needing shelter during the period of severe cold.
DMHAS has teams who specialize in working with homeless people to locate those who are at risk, spread the word about the 2-1-1 system, and encourage everyone to take advantage of the safety of shelters. DMHAS also works with shelters to assess and meet the needs of individual clients.