Pine Belt braces for bitter cold - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Pine Belt braces for bitter cold

By Colleen Donovan - bio | email 

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - When temperatures dip below forty degrees, Pine belt residents without heat or a home can always seek shelter at the Salvation Army.

Mary Ann Parrish is the Director of Development for the Hattiesburg Salvation Army. "We have what we call the White Flag nights and that means our shelter is open to anyone who might be without heat," said Parrish.

That includes men, women and children. The shelter can accommodate around fifty people. Parrish said, "We have a nice, warm facility here and we'd like for you to not put yourself in danger and to come out and be in the shelter if necessary."

Christian Services is also preparing for the cold by handing out blankets to those in need and keeping folks fed with hot meals at lunchtime according to it's founder, Bill Prout.

"We have blankets, we have jackets, we have hats that we are going to be giving away, there is not going to be any charge or qualification," said Prout.

At the Red Cross, they are stressing the importance of dressing properly for the cold and ways to reduce at home fire risks. Allison Applewhite is the Emergency Services Director for the Red Cross.

"Making sure that electrical outlets aren't overloaded with appliances like space heaters, hair dryers things like that. You want to make sure that your pipes don't freeze," said Applewhite.

The Red Cross said to make sure space heaters are kept away from clutter, and that lit candles are monitored and blown out at night.

"And people in mobile homes and people with older homes with older electrical wiring's, they also need to take extreme precaution because that is usually where the majority of electrical fires come from," said Applewhite.

A break in the bitter cold is not expected until Sunday for the Pine belt.

 Copyright 2009 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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