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Ole Man Winter Not Done Yet

Severe Weather
Never leave space heaters or fireplaces unattended.

Weather experts predict record cold, heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain will continue to plague the eastern half of the country over the next few days. The American Red Cross is responding and urges residents to be cautious if using alternative sources of heat during the bitter cold.

The Red Cross opened or supported more than 50 shelters overnight as hundreds of people across multiple southern states looked for a place to stay warm and safe. The Red Cross is also operating warming stations where people can get a hot drink and something to eat.

HEAT YOUR HOME SAFELY

As temperatures plummet and heating systems run almost non-stop, many people resort to supplemental heating sources to cut down on their heating costs. These can be dangerous if not used properly. The Red Cross urges everyone to follow these safety steps to prevent a home fire if using such things as fireplaces and space heaters to keep warm:

  • Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.
  • Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended.
  • Turn off space heaters or extinguish the fireplace before going to bed or leaving home.
  • Place a space heater on a hard, level, nonflammable surface. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away. Look for a space heater model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • When using a fireplace, use a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks or rolling logs and keep the fire in the fireplace.
  • Keep all flammable materials such as newspapers, matches, bedding, clothing, carpets and rugs at least three feet away from heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces and stoves.
  • Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys and furnaces professionally inspected once a year.
  • PLEASE GIVE BLOOD

    Since February 1, approximately 500 Red Cross blood drives in 23 states were canceled because of inclement weather, resulting in more than 16,300 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Eligible blood and platelet donors who live in areas where it is safe to travel are encouraged to make an appointment to give now, and those in areas affected by severe weather are asked to make and keep appointments when it is safe to do so. Donors with blood types O negative, A negative and B negative are especially needed and are encouraged to donate double red cells where available.

    WINTER SAFETY TIPS

  • Wear layers of clothing to stay warm, along with a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots. This video offers more information on how to dress for the cold.
  • Avoid frozen pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Visit here for more information.
  • Be extremely careful if you have to shovel snow. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
  • 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. We have additional information available here.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
  • Avoid driving on snow-covered roads if possible. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle
  • If your car breaks down, do not try to walk to safety. Tie a bright cloth to the antenna. Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour, making sure the exhaust pipe is clear. Keep one window away from the wind slightly open.
  • 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
  • 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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