Governor Ned Lamont announced on Thursday that he is directing Connecticut’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol to be activated beginning at 3:00 pm on Thursday, February 11, and remaining in effect through at least 12:00 pm on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, in what is anticipated to be a long-duration period of frigid weather.
The governor said that forecasts are currently showing the state will experience frigid wind chills every night for nearly an entire week, and stressed that he may need to extend the duration of the protocol if the forecasted evening cold temperatures continue past next Wednesday.
The protocol sets up a system for state agencies and municipalities to coordinate with United Way 2-1-1 and Connecticut’s network of shelters to ensure that the most vulnerable populations receive protection from the severe conditions. United Way 2-1-1 operates as the point of contact for individuals who need shelter and transportation to shelters.
Anyone in need of shelter is urged to call 2-1-1 to get connected to these services. Safety measures have been enacted at shelters throughout the state to adhere to the needs of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is shaping up to be quite a frigid winter, and we’re looking at extreme cold conditions every night for almost an entire week beginning this evening,” Governor Lamont said. “I cannot stress enough how dangerous it is in this weather to spend extended periods of time outdoors. Shelters are open throughout the state, and we need to spread the word to the most vulnerable in our communities that these services are available. If you know anyone who is in need of shelter, please call 2-1-1 and they will let you know of the nearest available locations and even connect you to transportation if it is needed.”
While activated, the protocol enacts the following actions:
- The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security activates its WebEOC communications network, which is an internet-based system that enables 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.
- The Department of Social Services, Department of Housing, and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services coordinate with 2-1-1 and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, along with community-based providers, to provide transportation for people seeking shelter.