American Red Cross: Make safety a priority during winter weather

As a major winter storm is now covering most of Northeast PA, the Red Cross recommends making safety a priority. Snow will fall heavy at times throughout the day, with some areas experiencing freezing rain mixing in with the snow. Driving is not recommended. Peter M. Brown, Regional CEO said, “People should be prepared to stay indoors for the day. Having a preparedness kit in your home will come in handy if power outages occur. Safety should be your number one priority.”

Winter Safety Tips:

• Dress in layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat (covers ears) will help prevent losing body heat.

• Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep feet warm and dry and maintain your footing in ice and snow.

• Take breaks when shoveling snow. Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.

• Watch for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, or waxy feeling skin.

• Minimize travel. If it is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.

• Don’t forget family pets – bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.

• Avoid frozen pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.

• Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.

• Download the Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores.

HOME FIRE RISK INCREASES DURING COLD During extremely cold weather, the risk for a fire in someone’s home can increase. To avoid fire danger, people should remember the following:

• Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.

• Space heaters should sit on a level, hard surface. Keep anything flammable at least three feet away, (ie) paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

• If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

• Use generators correctly. Never operate one inside the home, including basement or garage.

• Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring.

Home Preparedness Kit:

• 3-day supply of water

• 3-day supply of nonperishable, easy-to-prepare food

• Flashlight with extra batteries

• Batter-powered or hand-crank radio

• First Aid Kit

• Medications

• Cell phone, chargers and car chargers

• Warm blankets and clothing for all household members

• Hats, Gloves, Scarves

• Sanitation and personal hygiene items

• Baby Supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)

• Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl, medications)

• Copies of personal documents

• Family and Emergency Contact Information

• Extra cash

• Multi-purpose tools

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