Miami-Dade first responders, volunteers offer safety tips ahead of winter storm

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and leaders of the city’s homeless trust were helping others Friday by giving safety tips and providing shelter for those in need ahead of the emerging winter storm.

With weather expected to drop to the 40′s early Saturday morning, South Floridians are bringing out the heaters, sweaters and jackets right before the holidays.

Even though South Florida won’t see the bitter cold other parts of the country are getting, there were still plenty of preparations going on.

Well before temperatures began dropping in South Florida, volunteers were working hard to prepare the most vulnerable.

Ron Book, Chairman of the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust is helping the less fortunate by stocking them up with blankets and making sure they have a warm, safe place to go.

“It’s going to be real, real cold and we don’t want you out here at night,” Book said.

Book told Local 10 News’ Ian Margol that he is paying close attention to the weather report and letting others know what’s about to arrive.

“We’re warning them, they know the cold weather is coming,” he said. “The front is on its way and sometimes we’ve got to whip out the weather report.”

Places across our area, like the Chapman Partnership, made space for those who needed shelter while law enforcement encouraged those living on the streets to head toward the warmth indoors.

But, for those who didn’t want to go inside, they also passed out blankets.

For many South Floridians who are just looking for a way to keep their homes toasty, firefighters are reminding others to be extra careful with those heaters.

Avoid the use of extension cords with space heaters. when turning on your central heating unit, be sure to first ventilate your home. open all of the windows, let the air through to ensure proper ventilation,” Erika Benitez of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

Firefighters also say to make sure you turn space heaters off when you leave the house or go to sleep and not to forget about pets that live outside.

They are also urging others to bring their pets inside or make sure they have a fully enclosed shelter with the entrance facing away from the wind.

Benitez also wants people to look out for any fire hazards in their homes.

“One of the most important considerations is to protect your home against fires so please take the time to inspect and prepare your heating equipment before using it,” she said. “Keep your portable heating units or any heating equipment at least 3 feet away from anything that could possibly burn like furniture, bedding, curtains, any holiday decorations, even your Christmas tree.”

About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

Ryan Mackey is a Digital Journalist at WPLG. He was born in Long Island, New York, and has lived in Sunrise, Florida since 1994.