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Follow Red Cross Safety Steps During Winter Storms

Winter
Please give blood.

Millions of people in the northeast are digging out from yet another round of snow and ice with more winter storms and bitter cold temperatures predicted for later in the week. The American Red Cross has steps people can follow to stay safe during this continuous blast from Ole Man Winter.

WEATHER AFFECTS BLOOD, PLATELET DONATIONS Since January 1, more than 350 Red Cross blood drives in two dozen states were canceled because of inclement weather, resulting in more than 11,800 uncollected blood and platelet donations. In Massachusetts alone, more than 60 blood drives were canceled since the beginning of the year. As a national network, the Red Cross is shipping extra blood products to the Boston area to ensure the needs of patients are met. Eligible blood and platelet donors who live in areas where it is safe to travel are encouraged to make an appointment to give now.

WINTER SAFETY TIPS

People are urged to follow these steps during this dangerous weather:

  • Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm.
  • Listen to local news outlets and follow the advice of your local officials.
  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during this extreme weather.
  • Be extremely careful if you have to shovel snow. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
  • Avoid driving on snow-covered roads if possible. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle
  • Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
  • Don’t forget your 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.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
  • Avoid frozen pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing.
  • 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 in your app store. See all Red Cross apps at redcross.org/mobileapps
  • POWER OUTAGE

    If someone is going to use a generator, they should never use it indoors, even in a garage, carport, basement or crawlspace. Fumes from the generator can be deadly.

  • Use flashlights for light, not candles.
  • Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away.
  • 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.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Check refrigerated food for spoilage and if in doubt, throw it out. Your refrigerator will keep cold for about 4 hours. If the freezer is full, it will keep its temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Have coolers on hand and surround your food with ice in the cooler or refrigerator to keep food cold for a longer period of time.
  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment and any appliances, equipment or electronics to avoid damaging them when the power is restored.
  • 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.
  • HOW TO HELP

    You can help people affected by disasters like winter storms and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

    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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