Tips to stay safe, warm during subzero temperatures


Lila Henninger, a senior fashion design major, bundled up for the cold on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. Before Kent State announced campus will be closed on Wednesday, Henninger said she would “hopefully (be) going nowhere.”

With all KSU campuses closed Wednesday and temperatures expected to drop into negative digits, students, staff and Kent residents are being encouraged to stay indoors.

However, for those who must travel for work or other obligations, there are ways to maintain safety while out in the sub-zero temperatures.

Ron Voller, a traffic manager for Portage County Department of Transportation, said preparation is key to staying safe on the roads when the temperatures reach negative numbers.

“Make sure that the (gas) tank is full and have extra blankets and clothes,” Voller said. “Have spare gloves, hats, even boots in case you break down and have to walk.”

Voller also said the extremely low temperatures make street cleanup more difficult.

“The snow (in these temperatures) will be like ice and it won’t be a quick clean,” Voller said. “Move slow when driving and on the sidewalks, as well.”

For those in need of shelter from the cold weather, PARTA is offering free rides on the 35-Interurban East bus to Center of Hope, a Ravenna nonprofit offering meals, groceries, clothes and temporary shelter, Wednesday until Saturday, from 8 p.m. till 9 a.m., for all Kent residents. Students already get free access to that bus line with their FLASHcard.

Some Kent residents have recently received emails or messages from property managers about safety and upkeep during the cold temperatures. Patty McNerney, the community manager for The Province, said Wednesday will be “a good time to just curl up with a book.”

“We send out information to help our residents prepare for the deep freeze, reminders to keep the faucet on a slow drip, don’t turn the furnace off,” McNerney said. “We have our snow removal team salting for traction.”

She noted that while salt can help provide traction for drivers and walkers, at these temperatures, it won’t help melt snow and ice.

Debbie Davis, the property manager for University Townhomes and East Townhomes apartment complexes, said she sent out a notice to residents advising how to keep apartments warm in the cold.

“At East Townhomes, we have to remind the kids to keep the downstairs bathroom door open, as well as the (vanity) cabinet (doors),” Davis said. “With the heat on, it keeps everything well insulated.”

Davis also noted that to keep pipes from freezing, residents shouldn’t let their apartment heat drop below 68 degrees.

“In my eight years at University Townhomes, and I’m hoping I’m not jinxing myself by saying this, we have never had a burst pipe. We have the hot water tanks already wrapped [for insulation],” Davis said

Both Davis and McNerney said the best thing for residents to do tomorrow is to stay home.

“If they stay in the townhouse with the heat on and stay in, they’ll be fine,” Davis said.

Nicholas Hunter and Madison MacArthur are senior reporters. Contact them at [email protected] and [email protected]