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Cold Weather Safety For You And Your Pets
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.
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.
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Emergency is the one-download resource that puts vital information at your fingertips. This “all-inclusive” app combines more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts from natural to man-made, giving you real-time information to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
Users can schedule appointments, track total donations, earn rewards and invite others to join them on a lifesaving team. The Blood Donor App is a great new way to help meet the constant need for blood.
Help your child become a confident swimmer. The American Red Cross Swim app puts the 100 year old Learn to Swim program in the palm of your hand. Brush up on your water safety knowledge, play parent child games together and track your child’s progress in the class.
Take care of your furry family member. The American Red Cross Pet First Aid app puts veterinary advice for everyday emergencies in the palm of your hand. Get the app and be prepared to act when called upon. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know Pet First Aid.
Be ready for wildfires with the Wildfire App by the American Red Cross. Get the latest state-by-state wildfire news and updates, prepare your family, home and pets, let loved ones know that you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an area that is susceptible to wildfires or has loved ones that do.
Get your family and home ready for a tornado with the official Tornado App from the American Red Cross. The Tornado app puts everything you need to know prepare for a tornado – and all that comes with it – in the palm of your hand. With interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to be ready.
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First Aid App
The official American Red Cross First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Available for iPhone and Android devices, the official American Red Cross First Aid app offers videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know first aid.
Monitor conditions in your area or throughout the storm track, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an area where a hurricane may strike or has loved ones who do.
The Red Cross Shelter Finder is available in the iTunes store and works on iOS devices. The Shelter Finder displays open Red Cross shelters and their current population on an easy to use map interface.
Be ready for an earthquake with Earthquake by American Red Cross. Get notified when an earthquake occurs, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an earthquake-prone area or has loved ones who do.