All sorts of problems blow in with colder temperatures
BY KAREN CAFFARINI AND MICHELLE L. QUINN Post-Tribune correspondents January 23, 2014 9:20PM
Satellite dish repairmanRandy Livinghouse works on a rooftop in subzero wind-chill temperatures Thursday morning in Valparaiso. | Jerry Davich/Post-Tribune
Cold weather will delay the start of classes Friday for a number of schools. Here are schools reporting two-hour delays:
East Porter County
Updated: February 25, 2014 6:26AM
Northwest Indiana officials, residents and workers are bracing for another week of arctic weather and the dangers it could bring.
Lake County Sheriff’s Department, said officers will check on the welfare of any resident if asked, said spokeswoman Patti Van Til — though such requests are rare.
They will take someone to one of several regional warming shelters and call a relative, if needed.
The officers are also ready to help any stranded motorist, Van Til said, noting that in these conditions, “they could freeze quickly.”
Robert Ellenberger, acting fire chief in Hobart, said he has added an extra person on ambulance calls.
The emergency department at Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Crown Point has seen six or seven weather-related injuries a day over the last four days — mostly involving outdoor falls or motor vehicle collisions, said Jean Miller, emergency department nurse manager.
Dr. Stevan Vuckovic, acting medical director of the hospital’s Department of Emergency Medicine, said the orthopedic injuries have spiked as temperatures plummeted.
“Salt doesn’t work when it’s under 20 degrees. People slip and fall outside,” he said. There was one case of frostbite during the last arctic blast, he said, and he heard one ambulance call where someone had fallen in a snowdrift.
He said slips and falls and car accidents could lead to prolonged exposure, which could result in frostbite and other health issues.
Municipal and township officials say few people have taken advantage of warming shelters this winter, though some knew of residents whose furnaces had broken down.
“We had a call for one lady whose furnace had gone out. She’s 82. We took her to a homeless shelter until the furnace is repaired,” said Donna Frazier, deputy trustee for Calumet Township.
Hobart building official Mike Hannigan said he received a call from a condo resident who was concerned because another resident in her building was without heat and relying on space heaters.
“She was concerned the space heaters could cause a fire,” Hannigan said.
Despite the cold, while “there’s been a steady stream of calls, but I can’t say there’s been a spike,” said Bruce Lindner, executive director of Porter County Aging and Community Services.
But Lindner pointed out the agency can help only people who fall within certain income guidelines.
Those with higher incomes could call Northern Indiana Public Service Co. to work out a payment program if they can’t afford higher bills due to the extreme cold, he said.
Ross Township Trustee Joseph Shudick said he’s seen more shut-off notices. “They may not have known they could get assistance before that,” Shudick said.
Meanwhile, for some employees, it’s work as usual.
Pipeline operator Enbridge has workers back on the job, never mind the brutal windchill.
“The crews are working, and they’re taking extra safety precautions,” Enbridge spokeswoman Jennifer Smith said.
Crews have been working at Broad Street by South Park, by Colorado Street in Hobart and Cleveland Street in Merrillville on its Line 6B replacement project, Smith said.