Officials work to keep public safe in low temps



PITTSBURGH - Allegheny County and city of Pittsburgh officials are working to keep the public safe as the temperatures have dropped below zero.

On his first day as mayor, Bill Peduto had a weather emergency on his hands.

"The Pittsburgh police are actively going out to find those citizens who are living on our streets to help them and to bring them to a warming center," said Peduto.

Pittsburgh police went looking for the homeless to bring them in from the cold. 

"The warming shelter is a 24/7 operation that goes into effect if we have widespread outages where multiple people are without heat," said Allegheny County Department of Emergency Services chief Alvin Henderson.

Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Michael Huss said extra emergency medical service crews will be available in the event of a fire, and local water companies will be checking fire hydrants. If homeowners lose power, warming centers will be open.

Officials urge residents to check on elderly neighbors and keep pets indoors.

“We've worked a great deal with the Animal Rescue League to bring the pets into shelters and to be able to provide help and assistance where needed," said Huss.

“I think for some people, they believe animals belong outside, even if it's a pet. So I think there's a lack of education out there,” said Mary Withrow of the Animal Rescue League.

Officials said city of Pittsburgh residents should call 311 for help during the extreme weather, and Allegheny County residents should dial 211.

"The most important thing for folks to use is common sense and just be prepared. There is no reason to panic on anything," said Allegheny County Director of Human Services Marc Cherna.

Motorists are also being advised to use extreme caution over the next few days while it’s too cold for salt to work on roads.

PennDOT officials told Channel 11’s Vince Sims that they have to take extra steps to treat roads when temperatures are this cold.

“Salt loses its effectiveness around 15 degrees, so what we will be doing is spreading a mix of salt and anti-skid when the temperatures get real low,” said Steve Cowan, of PennDOT.

PennDOT asks anyone who comes across a slick spot to report it to 1-800-FIXROAD.

Waste Management officials said trash collection will be affected on Tuesday due to the weather.

They released the following statement: “Due to the pending inclement weather, and for the safety of our employees and the communities we service, Waste Management residential and commercial trash collection has been canceled for part of the viewing area on Tuesday.  Customers will be serviced one day behind for the remainder of the week, with Friday pick up taking place on Saturday.   For more information and to see if your service will be interrupted, please visit”