State officials are urging residents to check on older adults who may have more difficulty adjusting to the extremely cold temperatures.
The Ohio Department of Aging says seniors lose body heat more quickly and are more susceptible to hypothermia. Officials encourage checking to ensure older adults have adequate, working heating systems. The state fire marshal also reminds Ohioans that frigid winter temperatures mean an increased risk of home fires. Larry Flowers says the use of candles, heating sources and makeshift cooking methods can significantly increase fire risks. He urges using kerosene heaters and space heaters according to manufacturer instructions, keeping them at least three feet from combustible materials. Kitchen oven ranges should not be used to heat homes and generators or other fuel-powered machines should be used outside only. Ohioans using candles should keep the flame away from combustible objects and out of children's reach. Flowers also says smoke alarms should be installed on every level of a home. Given the extreme cold temperatures, all the major school districts in central Ohio made the decision last night to cancel classes for today. Ohio State University also will not hold any sessions today. A Level 3 snow emergency has been issued for Lucas County - meaning only emergency personnel are allowed on the roadways there. The entire state remains under a rare wind-chill warning, which means frostbite could affect exposed skin within 10 minutes outside.