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CLEVELAND (WJW) – When temperatures get as cold as they are in Northeast Ohio, they are not just uncomfortable, they can also be dangerous.

Doctors say we should not take these sub-zero temperatures too lightly. Meanwhile, several local cities are providing places for residents to stay warm.

“If you’re going out, you go out only if absolutely necessary, exposure in and of itself is going to put people at risk, but ensuring that you have appropriate layers on, plenty of them, good footwear and then minimize the amount of time that you’re being exposed to the cold,” said Dr. Robert Hughes, who specializes in emergency medicine at University Hospitals in Cleveland.

He says the usual advice is important like dressing in layers and protecting extremities, like hands and feet.

He also has a warning for people who, for whatever reason, get creative while trying to stay warm inside their home, such as lighting a gas grill.

“Please be mindful not to use gas-operated anything inside the home and inside a closed space because carbon monoxide poisoning is a real and under-the-radar danger that we deal with, particularly in cold snaps like this,” said Dr. Hughes.

The city of Cleveland is keeping four recreational centers across the city open for extended hours until 10 p.m. throughout the weekend so people will have a place to get warm.

The four recreation centers are:

  • Collinwood Recreation Center – 16300 Lakeshore Blvd.
  • Michael Zone Recreation Center – 6301 Lorain Ave.
  • Zelma George Recreation Center – 3155 Martin Luther King Jr Dr.
  • Sterling Recreation Center MidTown Sterling Park – 1380 E. 32nd St.

“I think it’s a blessing for the recs to be open,” the Cleveland woman said.

The city of Akron also activated four warming centers.

They will provide snacks and beverages to residents who need a place to warm up, extending hours to 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. through the weekend and Tuesday through Saturday of next week too.

The list includes:

  • Patterson Park Community Center – 800 Patterson Ave.
  • Lawton Street Community Center – 1225 Lawton St.
  • Mason Park Community Center – 700 E Exchange St.
  • Summit Lake Community Center – 380 W Crosier St.

“It still give people a place to go, even though the weather’s bad and everything, still got a place to go and everything. That’s beautiful,” said one Cleveland man.

The city of Canton is also offering warming centers to its residents.

The “Edward “Peel” Coleman Community Center on Sherrick Road SE will offer overnight accommodations.

The Refuge of Hope on 2nd Sreet NE is offering a place to warm up during the day.

The region’s SARTA public transit system will provide free transportation.

All cities remind guests that masks will be required and COVID safety protocols will be followed.