"A lot more calls:" Bitter cold makes for busy day for furnace techs, operators at 2-1-1 call center

Bitter cold in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- Dangerously cold temperatures made for a busy day after Christmas at the IMPACT 2-1-1 call center in Milwaukee. Dispatchers at the center work to connect those in need with resources like shelter and heat.

Tuesday, December 26th marked the first time that we saw below-zero temperatures in the Milwaukee area in 2017.

"Bitter cold," Scott Fischer, VP of Donovan & Jorgenson Heating & Cooling said.

The only thing working harder than your furnace Tuesday was Fischer's group of service technicians.

Donovan & Jorgenson Heating & Cooling

Scott Fischer

"It was the most we've had all year," Fischer said. "When it gets this cold, the units are running for longer periods of time. Any units on the border or getting up there in age tend to wear out."

Fischer said most units should last homeowners 19 years, but he suggested annual maintenance checkups and regular filter changes.

"I'd say in at least the last few years, I haven't seen it this cold," Fischer said.

Donovan & Jorgenson Heating & Cooling wasn't the only place where phones were ringing off the hook on Tuesday.

"It's been pretty busy," Will Ward, contact center supervisor at IMPACT 2-1-1.

IMPACT 2-1-1

Operators are always standing by to help connect you with available resources when temperatures drop.

"Especially in the last week or so, it's gotten really cold outside and there have been a lot more calls," Ward said.

The most common calls come from people seeking shelter. Warming centers were opened up throughout Milwaukee, with many staying open all night when temperatures are at 10 degrees or below. Operators can also find you an emergency furnace repair shop. Help is just a phone call away. All you have to do is dial 211.

"If someone is outside, our goal is to make sure they are inside and safe," Ward said.

211 operators also take many calls this time of the year from those who see the homeless in their neighborhood or in parks. Operators will send out resources to help.

CLICK HERE to access a list of warming shelters in Milwaukee.