Cold Weather Safety For You And Your Pets

Winter Storm
Wear layers of clothing to keep warm.

It’s cold out there! A deep freeze is covering much of the country, leaving many without power and forcing the cancellation of 120 American Red Cross blood drives in 18 states and the District of Columbia. The Red Cross asks people in unaffected areas to give blood and has steps everyone can take to keep themselves and their pets safe during the extremely cold temperatures.

PLEASE GIVE BLOOD Since last Wednesday, the winter weather that hit many parts of the country led to the cancellation of 120 Red Cross blood drives in 18 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in more than 4,300 uncollected blood and platelet donations.

While the Red Cross blood supply is currently sufficient to meet hospital demand, winter is always a challenging time to ensure enough blood is on the shelves. While all blood types are needed, the Red Cross especially urges all eligible donors with blood types O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative to make a lifesaving appointment.

Donors in unaffected areas are encouraged to make and keep blood and platelet donation appointments to help offset the current shortfall. Appointments can be made online at redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.

MAKE SURE YOUR PETS ARE SAFE DURING THE COLD WEATHER

  • Bring your pets inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water.
  • If your pets can’t come indoors, make sure they are protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure large enough to allow them to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in the pet’s body heat. Raise the floor a few inches from the ground and cover it with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the enclosure away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
  • Salt and other things used to melt snow and ice can irritate your pet’s paws and mouth. Wipe your pet’s paws with a damp towel when they come inside.
  • Chemicals like antifreeze are poison to your pets. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.
  • STAY SAFE DURING COLD WEATHER

  • Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.
  • Protect your pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes 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. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as 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.
  • Download the American 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. See all Red Cross apps at redcross.org/mobileapps.
  • WHAT TO DO IF THE POWER IS OUT

  • Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
  • Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
  • Don’t use a grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside your home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
  • Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Use perishable food from the fridge first, then use food from the freezer. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours if the door remains closed.
  • If it looks like the power will be out for more than a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items. Keep your food in a dry, cool spot and covered at all times.
  • For more information on how to stay safe this winter, visit the winter storm safety information available on this web site.

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.