The American Red Cross is opening a warming center for residents of the Marine Drive Apartments after a water main break. Volunteers will be providing snacks, water and coffee in the heated community room at 161 Marine Drive, Buffalo, NY 14202. The Red Cross is working with apartment representatives and emergency officials and is ready to provide additional assistance if needed.
Earlier Tuesday afternoon, Disaster Action Team (DAT) members Nicole Roma and Jay Bonafede responded to the scene of partial roof collapse on Fillmore Avenue in Buffalo, providing food for two adults and six children. On Monday, DAT volunteers Diane Sargent and Dennis Scott provided food and clothing for 14 people after an apartment fire in Orchard Park, while Mike Hoplight responded to a house fire on Niagara Avenue in Niagara Falls, providing food and temporary housing for one person. In all cases, specially trained Disaster Mental Health volunteers are available to help people deal with the emotional trauma of their disaster, and affected families will meet with caseworkers in the coming days to work out a long-term recovery plan.
Frigid temperatures are expected to continue across Western New York, and the American Red Cross has steps people can take to stay safe during this hazardous weather:
· Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will prevent losing body heat.
· 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.
· Bring the 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.
· Avoid frozen pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.
· Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home.
· Space heaters should sit on a level, hard surface and anything flammable should be kept at least three feet away.
· If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
· Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
Learn how to treat cold weather related emergencies by downloading the free Red Cross First Aid App at redcross.org/apps. More information about winter safety is available at www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm.
The American Red Cross is also partnering with New York State to offer free Citizen Preparedness Corps Training. A trained Red Cross representative will provide a comprehensive overview on how to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural and man-made disasters, including winter storms and home fires. To schedule an in-person training session, contact Individual and Community Preparedness Specialist Veronica Chiesi Brown at 585-241-4405 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A 15-minute online version of this program is also available at http://prepare.ny.gov/online-citizen-preparedness-training (select Red Cross from the referral dropdown menu).