Henry Renteria                                                                                                     Kimberly Belshé

      Director                                                                                                                                        Secretary                                                                     


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    CONTACT: Eric Lamoureux or Greg Renick

January 9, 2007                                                                  OES (916) 845-8400
Mike Bowman

Health Services (916) 440-7660


State Emergency and Health Officials Urge Preparedness in Response to Extreme Cold Forecasts


SACRAMENTO – In response to forecasts for unusually cold temperatures throughout much of California in the coming days, officials with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) and the California Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) today urged Californians to prepare themselves, their family members, and their animals for the possible effects of the inclement weather.


The National Weather Service has reported to OES that temperatures will drop into the 20 and 30s Wednesday night into Thursday, followed by daytime temperatures in the mid 40s in most areas.  On Friday and into the weekend, temperatures will drop further, reaching the high teens to low 20s in most areas at night, and continued daytime lows in the mid 40s.


“Exposure to extreme cold can be dangerous to your health,” said Dr. Mark Horton, State Public Health Officer.  “To protect yourself in extremely cold weather remember to wear several layers of clothing, travel with caution and be alert for the symptoms of exposure.   Monitor family members and those around you who are at greatest risk from exposure, such as seniors, young children and people with underlying illnesses or chronic conditions.”


“The safety of all Californians is our utmost concern,” said OES Director Henry Renteria. “"The emergency advance planning efforts we engage in with our state and local partners ensure that any all support that the State can provide local governments over the coming days is available."


Coordination with partner State agencies currently includes the California National Guard and the California Department of Food and Agriculture working with local government officials to make armories and fair grounds available to supplement their sheltering needs.    Currently, there are 11 California National Guard armories that have been opened as shelters from the cold in Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Merced, Sylmar, Ventura, Los Angeles (Federal Ave), Culver City, Santa Ana, Fullerton, and Glendale.  They are opened daily from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.


Horton and Renteria urged Californians to take action today to reduce their risk of health-related problems and property damage. They also stressed the importance of checking on family members and neighbors who are elderly or have special needs.


Actions that can be taken to help protect against severe cold and freezing temperatures include:


1) Preparing your home and family


2) Dressing for the Weather


3) Traveling with caution


4)  Recognizing symptoms of exposure


For more information on preparing for emergencies, visit the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Web site at www.oes.ca.gov. For health-related information, visit the Department of Health Services Web site at www.dhs.ca.gov.


# # #