When extreme weather conditions are predicted, Martha Shelby, director of Butler County Water and Sewer Department, said the department limits its outside work to “critical and emergency” service only.
During an emergency, she said, workers are rotated to limit exposure and utilize heaters and wind breakers where possible. Also, she said, employees are informed of frostbite and hypothermia symptoms so they know what to watch for and when to get to a warmer area.
Mike Horrall, city of Middletown street department leader, said workers will be out Wednesday patching roads only if the asphalt plant is open. More than likely, he said, the employees will remain inside, working on equipment maintenance in the garage, which is needed after the recent winter storms.
Chris Petrocy, spokesperson for the Butler County Engineer’s Office, remembers driving to work in 1994 when the wind chill was minus 24 degrees, causing “slushy water” to pour out of a water main break. It was so cold, he said, the water was frozen before it hit the pavement.
When it’s this cold, Petrocy said he worries about the road crews, especially those working through the night. He encourages the employees to use “sound judgment and respect the cold.”
People who have to be outdoors should dress in layers in order to protect against frostbite and hypothermia, the American Red Cross said in a news release.
The Red Cross also is asking agencies and residents to make sure older persons are safe during the cold snap. The agency is reminding people to check on all family members and their pets.
Bring any pets or companion animals inside during winter weather and move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles, the release said.