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Red Cross Responds as Storm Buries Half the U.S.

Severe Weather
Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.

The American Red Cross is lending a hand as people all over the eastern half of the country dig out after the snow and ice that fell over the past several days.

More than 1,100 people spent Thursday night in Red Cross and community shelters in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, which were hit by severe ice on Wednesday. The storm moved into New England on Friday and the Red Cross has workers and equipment standing by if needed.

Red Cross chapters in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire are working with state and local officials to monitor the situation and respond as needed. Supplies and equipment are in position to be deployed if necessary.

PLEASE GIVE BLOOD The latest winter storm has caused the cancellation of more than 300 Red Cross blood drives in the South and along the East Coast, resulting in about 11,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. More are expected as the storm moves north. Back-to-back winter storms had already canceled more than 1,000 blood drives in 34 states and Washington, D.C. this year before this latest storm.

All blood types are needed now and will be needed in the coming weeks to help ensure blood is available for patients. If someone lives in a region unaffected by the storm and is eligible to give blood, the Red Cross asks that they please consider making an appointment to donate blood or platelets.

Appointments to give blood can be made online at or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.

POWER OUTAGE SAFETY Thousands of people are still without power on Friday, especially in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. If someone needs to find a shelter, they should follow their local media outlets or contact their local Red Cross chapter. If the power is out, follow these safety tips:

  • Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Don’t use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside your home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Don’t hook a generator up to your home’s wiring. People should connect the equipment they need to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
  • If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • If using a space heater, place it 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.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Use perishable food from the fridge first, then use food from the freezer. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours if the door remains closed.
  • If it looks like the power will be out for more than a day, prepare a cooler with ice for freezer items. Keep food covered in a dry, cool spot.
  • More information about how to stay safe during this storm is available on the Red Cross web site.

    HOW YOU CAN 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 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.