You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Red Cross Gets Ready as Winter Storm Threatens Thousands; Urges People to Prepare for Severe Winter Weather

Fire Safety
“The Red Cross stands ready to provide support when we are called to provide help and hope."

Red Cross Gets Ready as Winter Storm Threatens Thousands;

  Urges People to Prepare for Severe Winter Weather

Download free Red Cross Emergency App for winter weather alerts, warnings.

OMAHA, NEB., Sunday, January 31, 2016— The American Red Cross is preparing to respond to our communities as a massive winter storm threatens.

Red Cross chapters across Nebraska, SW Iowa and Kansas are on alert and carefully monitoring weather forecasts. Red Cross volunteers, relief supplies, emergency vehicles and shelters are always ready to provide help when needed. The potentially crippling winter storm is expected to bring heavy snow and ice, strong winds and possible power outages to the region. Blizzard conditions are possible in some areas. The Red Cross has safety steps people should follow during this massive storm which will affect people through the week.

“This storm has the potential to affect thousands of people and we urge everyone to stay alert to changing weather conditions and listen to the advice of local officials,” said Jill Orton, Region Executive. “The Red Cross stands ready to provide support, but the most important thing people can do right now is to get prepared.”

GET PREPARED NOW Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for winter weather alerts and warnings. The app’s Winter Storm section contains expert advice for what to do before, during and after winter storms. Get an emergency kit ready now - details about what should be included are on the Red Cross web site.

DURING THE STORM Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Be extremely careful when shoveling snow. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. Check on children, elderly neighbors and people with disabilities. Other safety steps include:

·      Run water even at a trickle to avoid pipes freezing.

·      Bring animals inside and move livestock to sheltered areas.

·      If someone’s home loses power or heat during extreme cold, they should go to a designated public shelter.

·      Never use a generator, grill, or other fuel or charcoal burning device inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate them away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.

·      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.

DRIVING If possible, avoid driving in this storm. If someone has to drive, they should have a window scraper, kitty litter or sand in case their vehicle gets stuck, extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk. Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help see. Full details are available here.

HOME FIRE DANGER Storms like this can result in a high number of home fires.

{C}·      {C}Use flashlights for light, not candles.

{C}·      {C}People should never use a stove or oven to heat their home. If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs

{C}·      {C}Place space heaters 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.

WINTER WEATHER AFFECTS BLOOD AND PLATELET DONATIONS The Red Cross has an emergency need for blood donors. Severe winter weather since Jan. 1 has forced the cancellation of more than 300 blood drives across 20 states, resulting in more than 9,500 donations uncollected, further depleting an already low winter supply.

“Blood products are being delivered to hospitals as quickly as donations are coming in,” said Anna Sanderson, donor recruitment director of the Midwest and Central Plains Blood Services Regions. “Eligible donors are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now and help ensure blood products are available for patients.”

Blood donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Full details on how to stay safe are available in the Red Cross Winter Storm preparedness section of

HOW TO HELP You can help people affected by disasters like winter storms or 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. Donate by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word 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 nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at