New Ideas Protect Americans from Winter Cold
Philadelphia, PA – Local Homeland Security offices are experimenting with creative new ways to protect vulnerable Americans during the night.
As more and more Americans go to bed each night in temporary cardboard shelters, the danger of overnight temperature swings has become a more serious problem. In northern states, many Americans, still new to sleeping in overnight cardboard shelters, are discovering these shelters provide only basic protection from wind, rain and cold. But under extreme overnight conditions these cardboard homes can still leave the people inside vulnerable. The problem is particularly acute for families with small children.
Homeland Security officials who have looked at the problem are testing new approaches to help prevent severe overnight stress from cruel winter temperatures. One experimental program is being conducted on the streets of Philadelphia this winter.
Experts say that proper orientation of the cardboard shelter to protect against wind can raise the overnight inside temperature by as much as 5 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit. The secret of saving those 5 to 7 degrees is to orient the shelter before going to sleep.
Experts say both gusting wind and sustained wind can be deadly, but it’s sustained wind that’s the worst. But how does the box dweller know what to expect? Lacking a TV forecast, or an internet connection, and perhaps lacking even a battery-powered radio, how does the box dweller know where the wind will come from?
Homeland Security thinks it has an answer. Their “Winter Wind” pilot project aims to inform every box dweller about the nightly wind forecast. Using their installed base of CCTV surveillance cameras, some of which are already equipped with ‘voice command’ capability, the pilot project delivers nightly wind-warning bulletins, every 5 minutes, in the hours surrounding dusk. Announcements inform box dwellers of the best box orientation for overnight.
Officials stress that compliance is 100% voluntary.
If the project is successful, the department hopes to add voice command to nearly all of its security cameras within the next two years.
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