People can die from hypothermia, a condition brought on when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion.
To help ensure no one has to sleep outside during the winter months, a collaborative effort by the county, nonprofits and faith communities created the Hypothermia Prevention Program more than a decade ago. Last winter, the program provided almost 1,100 people experiencing homelessness in our county with a warm, safe place to sleep and a healthy meal.
What can you do? If you see someone who is unsheltered and you think he or she could be at risk of hypothermia, call the county’s non-emergency policy phone line at 703-691-2131. A police officer will go out and do a wellness check and offer transportation to a hypothermia shelter site. If you see someone who appears to be in distress, call 911.