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Red Cross Advises Extreme Caution During Ice Storm

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As a rare ice storm strikes the Puget Sound area, the American Red Cross advises extreme caution. Ice storms can cause power outages and dangerous driving conditions. The Red Cross offers these tips to stay safe:

Power Outage Tips

· Assemble emergency supplies including a flashlight, batteries, portable radio, at least one gallon of water per person and a small supply of food.

· Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Due to the strong risk of fire, do not use candles during a power outage.Use the phone for emergencies only. Listening to a portable radio can provide the latest information. Do not call 9-1-1 for information – only call to report a life-threatening emergency.

· Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.

· Do not use gas appliances such as ranges or ovens to heat homes.

· Stay focused on the risks of carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless gas.

· The initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to flu, but without the fever. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness and sleepiness. High concentrations of carbon monoxide can cause death.

· Buy a carbon monoxide alarm if you do not already have one. If you have one, check the battery to make sure it is working.

· If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds or if you experience carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms, get fresh air immediately. Open windows and doors for more ventilation, turn off any combustion appliances and leave your home. Then call your fire department and report your symptoms.

· Turn off electrical equipment that was in use when the power outage occurred. Leave one light to know when the power comes back on.

· Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about four hours, and a full freezer will keep foods cold for about 48 hours (24 hours if half full).

Travel Tips

· Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, check road conditions and snow routes ahead of time.

· Keep the vehicle’s gas tank full and carry an emergency preparedness kit in the trunk and include blankets and extra clothing for warmth.

· Slow down when driving and use caution when walking on icy surfaces that can be slick.

· Be cautious about downed power lines and trees.

· If someone does get stuck, stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety.

For more safety tips or to purchase a disaster kit for your home or vehicle, please visit www.seattleredcross.org or follow us on www.twitter.com/seattleredcross or www.facebook.com/seattleredcross.

The American Red Cross is a non-profit, humanitarian agency dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. For more information, visit www.seattleredcross.org.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Stephanie Schoo, 206.726.3545 or stephanie.schoo@seattleredcross.org.