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Red Cross Offers Winter Weather Safety Steps

Patient needs for blood continue despite the weather.

Winter is making a comeback across the country from the Pacific Northwest to New England with snow and below normal temperatures expected in much of the United States over the weekend. The American Red Cross has steps people can take to remain safe during the latest onslaught of winter, and urges people in unaffected areas to give blood to help patients in need.

The largest storm stretches from the Midwest through New England, downing power lines, closing schools and snarling traffic on snow-covered roads. Temperatures are expected to fall below normal and stay that way through the weekend. Snow showers are expected as far south as the southern Appalachian region.

The Red Cross offers these steps people can take to stay safe and warm as winter blankets your neighborhood:

Winter Storm Safety Checklist

  • Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm rather than a single heavy coat. Don’t forget gloves and a hat to prevent loss of body heat.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Waterproof, insulated boots will keep your feet warm and dry and help maintain your footing in ice and snow.
  • Be careful when shoveling snow. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. Avoid overexertion.
  • Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if you must ...
  • Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk.
  • Keep your car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • If your power is out, do not use candles for lighting. Use flashlights only.
  • Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside your home, including in the basement or garage. Do not hook up a generator directly to your home's wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
  • Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. If using a space heater, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to safely use the heater. Place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface. Turn the space heater off when you leave the room or go to sleep. Keep children and pets away from your space heater and do not use it to dry wet clothing.
  • Keep a glass or metal fire screen around the fireplace and never leave a fireplace fire unattended.
  • Don’t forget your pets – bring them indoors. If you can’t bring them inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they can get to unfrozen water
  • Please Give Blood.

    The winter weather could keep people indoors, unable to get to Red Cross blood drives in areas where travel is hazardous. Despite the weather, the Red Cross needs to be able to respond to patient emergencies and urges those who can to give blood this weekend.

    Every two seconds, someone in this country needs blood. 44,000 blood donations are needed every day to help trauma victims, surgical patients, burn victims, patients with blood disorders and many others.

    Potential blood donors must be 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and be in generally good health. People should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when they come to donate. Eligible donors can give whole blood every 56 days.

    To schedule a donation time or get more information about giving blood or platelets, people can visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

    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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.