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Red Cross Helps As Winter Slams New York

Snow plow

The snow continues to pile up in the greater Buffalo, New York area and the American Red Cross is providing shelter and food to those affected by the relentless winter storm.

Weather experts report the area could see as much as eight feet of snow before the storm is over. The Red Cross has seven shelters open where 128 people sought refuge Wednesday night.

WINTER STORM SAFETY Stay indoors when possible. Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm during cold weather, as well as gloves and hat. Other safety steps include the following:

• If you lose power, go to a designated public shelter to stay warm. More information about what to do during a power outage is available in the preparedness section of our web site.

• Keep your thermostat at the same setting day and night.

• Bring pets indoors. If that’s not possible, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.

• Check on your elderly neighbors. Help those who may need special assistance, including people with disabilities and children.

• Run water, even at a trickle, to help stop pipes from freezing. Keep garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.

• Before taking on tasks such as shoveling snow, consider your physical condition.

• Know the signs of hypothermia - confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. If someone has these symptoms, they should get immediate medical attention.

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

STAY SAFE WHILE DRIVING The safest thing to do during a winter storm is stay off the roads if possible. If you have to drive, the Red Cross offers these tips about how to drive safely during a winter storm:

• Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.

• If you can, avoid driving in sleet, freezing rain, snow or dense fog. If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.

• If you have to travel, keep a disaster supplies kit in the car.

• Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.

• Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.

• Don’t pass the snow plow truck.

• Find out what the weather is where you are traveling. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.

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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