(WBBM Newsradio) — Help is available for anyone who needs it because of the cold snap, Chicago’s head of emergency management stresses.

In many cases, a simple call to the city’s 3-1-1 non-emergency number will get results, officials say.

Since Thursday, Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) has fielded 600 complaints from apartment tenants either with no heat or insufficient heat, says agency Executive Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau.

City ordinance requires landlords to provide a minimum of 68 degrees by day and 65 degrees at night.

“Don’t wait If you feel like it is too cold in your apartment or your furnace is having an issue. By all means do not hesitate” to call 3-1-1, Tate-Nadeau said Tuesday.

“We’d rather have you call and have someone take a look at it.”

Meantime, 400 people are using warming centers around the clock and many more at night, although not as many as the city projected for such a prolonged cold snap, she says.

The city has opened 27 community service and senior citizens’ centers as warming areas. She said contingencies are available at facilities like police stations and hospitals if needed.

No matter what the demand, Tate-Nadeau said, no one will be turned away. Tate-Nadeau also urged Chicagoans who have to spend a lot of time outdoors in the frigid temperatures and gusting winds to wear layers of clothes to stay completely covered.

She said at current temperatures, frostbite can set in quickly.

Much of the city’s cold-weather plan has been in place for a number of years, although she said planning for this winter, including preparations for a prolonged cold snap, began more than six months ago.

 

 

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