How to Keep Yourself (And Others) Warm During This Dangerous Cold

The city has declared a code blue — meaning the temperature could be deadly for anyone attempting to sleep on the street. Here's how to help.

Philly officials are warning residents to stay inside and keep warm.

When it’s dangerously cold outside, the city declares a Code Blue. The emergency status specifically pertains to those experiencing homelessness: It’s activated when the National Weather Bureau predicts a wind chill of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below, which could be deadly for anyone attempting to sleep on the street.

During a Code Blue, the city offers extra beds available within its emergency housing network, and outreach teams work around the clock. If you’re worried about someone sleeping in the cold, you can call the city’s outreach hotline at 215-232-1984. To contact the city’s Office of Homeless Services, call 215-686-7175.

The Philadelphia Network of Care offers lists of emergency shelters and street outreach programs in Philly. If just you’re looking for somewhere to keep warm during the day, considering visiting The Free Library branches, the Shops at Liberty Place, the Bourse, Reading Terminal Market or the Barnes and Noble at Rittenhouse.

Don’t forget: your pets need to stay warm, too. Per Pennsylvania’s recently passed Libre’s Law, dogs can be tethered outside for no more than 30 minutes in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, owners face a potential fine or prison sentence. For cold weather pet safety tips, visit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.