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Thurston County Activates Hazardous Weather Response

December 4, 2018, OLYMPIA – The National Weather Service has issued a forecast for below freezing weather
patterns in the Puget Sound area during the next five days. In response to this predicted weather
pattern, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services is issuing a “Code Blue” advisory
to increase shelter capacity beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 4, and extending
through Friday, December 7 at 7:00 a.m.
 
County, city, and local advocacy and non-profit organizations have been working together as the
Hazardous Weather Task Force (HWTF) for the past year to develop a plan to address harsh
weather conditions and the effects on vulnerable unsheltered populations. The HWTF developed
the “code blue” model to be enacted during extremely cold or hazardous weather conditions.
During a “code blue”, organizations, including HWTF members, take special measures to keep
people who are homeless safe by expanding shelter services to accommodate the increased need.
The HWTF will assess the model used during this event to enhance the response in future events.
 
“This hazardous weather puts those in our community who do not have adequate shelter or heat
sources at serious risk of hypothermia or even death,” said Public Health Director Schelli
Slaughter. “Activating ‘cold blue’ will allow for additional emergency shelter capacity to keep
our most vulnerable populations safe, dry, and warm.”
 
During this code blue activation period, expanded shelter options are available at the Salvation
Army and Union Gospel Mission for single men and women. Family Support Center’s Pear
Blossom Place is available for families with children needing shelter and Community Youth
Services is available for youth ages 18-24.
 
Volunteers and donations of blankets, coffee, creamer, cup of soups, and other snacks are
needed. Items can be dropped off at the Salvation Army after 6:00 p.m. For volunteer
opportunities please visit, https://www.iwshelter.org/code-blue.html or email Anna Schlecht at
 
For more information call Thurston County’s Coordinated Entry Shelter and Housing Hotline
at 1-844-628-7343.