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Deschutes County Public Health offers cold-snap safety, health tips, provides list of warming shelters

Deschutes County Public Health

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Winter weather is upon us and expected to continue into next week with subzero temperatures, additional snow and high winds.

Deschutes County Public Health reminds people to take precautions to prevent serious health and safety concerns. Preparing for exposure to colder temperatures can mean the difference between staying healthy and serious injury or even death.

When exposed to cold temperatures, the human body loses heat faster than it creates it. Lengthy exposure to cold uses up the body’s stored energy. It can result in a serious condition called hypothermia, characterized by an unusually low body temperature. Hypothermia is most likely to occur at very cold temperatures. However, it can occur at temperatures above 40 degrees F. It can happen if you become chilled from rain, sweat or submersion in cold water.

“Winter weather can cause many health-related injuries like frostbite and hypothermia. You can also get injuries from falling on slippery or icy sidewalks and paths,” said Emily Horton, Program Manager for Public Health Preparedness. “Cold weather can put an extra strain on the heart. Make sure to dress warm, keep outdoor trips brief and take breaks when shoveling or working outside.”

Frostbite is another injury to the body caused by freezing. It results in a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body. Severe cases can lead to amputation. If you have reduced blood circulation, or do not dress well for extremely cold temperatures, you are at higher risk of frostbite than others are.

If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow, chopping wood or performing other hard work in the cold. Otherwise, dress warmly and work slowly if you have to do active outdoor chores. You can start overheating and sweating because the body already is working hard just to stay warm.

Health officials offer the following tips to help keep you and your family safe and healthy during extremely cold weather:

  • Try to stay indoors when weather is extremely cold, especially if winds are high.
  • Make trips outside as brief as possible, if you must go outdoors.
  • When going outside during very cold weather, adults and children should wear:
    • A hat
    • A scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
    • Sleeves snug at the wrist
    • Insulated and waterproof mittens or gloves
    • Several layers of loose-fitting, thermal wear or material that “wicks” the skin
    • A water-resistant or tightly woven coat
    • Two layers of socks with boots or shoes that are waterproof and have flexible sole

Walking on ice is extremely dangerous. Many cold weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered sidewalks, steps, driveways and porches. Keep your steps and walkways as free of ice as possible. You can do this by using rock salt or another chemical de-icing compound. Applying sand or cat litter to walkways can also reduce the risk of slipping.

If you need warm shelter, call 211 for warming shelter locations. 

In coordination with community partners, here is a list of local daytime and overnight warming spaces:

BendFirst Presbyterian Church & Unitarian Universalists of Central Oregon230 NE 9th St.Operating Jan. 12 -15 Doors will open at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 12. 24/7 sheltering will be offered until Monday, Jan. 15 at 4 p.m. Doors will close at 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 16.Well behaved animals accepted. For questions, please call 541-480-4232.
BendBlue Dog RV (Shepherd's House)181 NE Franklin Ave.7 Days a week: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.Breakfast and Lunch providedWell behaved animals acceptedPhone: (541) 318-0729
BendThe Lighthouse Navigation Center275 NE 2nd StHours: 6 p.m. – 7 a.m. Meals served at opening.Who: Adults, 50 bedsPets are allowed but must be with owner.Call for more info: (541) 318–0729
BendCouncil on Aging1036 NE 5th St.Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Lunch Served Wednesday - Friday for ages 60+ and underage spousesService animals onlyPhone: (541) 678-5483
BendDowntown Bend Library601 NW Wall StreetWILL BE CLOSED, JAN. 15, 2024Monday - Thursday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday - Sunday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.Service animals onlyPhone: (541) 617-7050
BendEast Bend Library62080 Dean Swift Rd.WILL BE CLOSED, JAN. 15, 2024Monday - Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Sundays.Service animals onlyPhone: (541) 330-3760
RedmondShepherd’s House Ministries1350 S Hwy 97EXPANDED OPERATIONS ONLY FOR JAN. 11-16: Doors will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday (1/11) and sheltering will be offered 24/7 until Tuesday (1/16) at 7 a.m.Normal Hours: 6 p.m. - 7 a.m.;Dinner and morning takeaway meals will be provided.Who: Adults, 46 bedsPets are allowed but must be with owner.Call for more info: (541) 388-2096
RedmondRedmond Library2127 S. Hwy 97WILL BE CLOSED JAN. 15, 2024Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Sundays.Service Animals Only.Phone: (541) 312-1050
SistersSisters Park and Recreation District1750 McKinney ButteWILL BE CLOSED, JAN. 15, 2024Monday - Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.Friday: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.Closed Saturday - SundayService Animals OnlyPhone: (541) 549-2091
SistersSisters Library110 N. Cedar St.WILL BE CLOSED JAN. 15, 2024Tuesday - Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.Closed Sunday - MondayService Animals OnlyPhone: (541) 312-1070
La PineThe Door Church16430 3rd StOpen til March 15Hours: 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.Meals served between 6 and 7 p.m.Who: Adults and families. 20 beds. Pets must be well-behaved and with owner at all times.
La PineLa Pine Activity Center16450 Victory WayWILL BE CLOSED ON JAN 15, 2024Monday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.Tuesday - Friday: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.Lunch Served Tuesday - ThursdayService Animals OnlyPhone: (541) 536-6237
La PineLa Pine Library16425 1st St.WILL BE CLOSED JAN 15, 2024Tuesday - Saturday: 10AM - 6PMClosed Sunday - MondayService Animals OnlyPhone: (541) 312-1090

Due to extended and additional warming shelter operations, the following donations are much appreciated:

  • Winter Clothing:Coats, Hats, Gloves, Boots
  • Bottled Water
  • Handwarmers

Donation Drop Off Locations during operating hours:

Shepherd’s House Ministries:

For Bend: 1854 NE Division St., Bend, OR 97701

For Redmond: 1350 S HWY 97, Redmond, OR 97756

First Presbyterian:

230 NE 9th St, Bend OR 97701

To find more cold weather safety tips, visit

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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