Red Cross Provides Relief from Winter Weather around Nation

Snow plow
Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, have a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.

The American Red Cross is providing shelter and comfort across several states as winter weather affects much of the nation. Monday night, the Red Cross and other community groups supported 11 shelters in seven states.

In a follow-up storm to the snowy weather many states experienced over the weekend, four to six inches of snow is expected today from Virginia to New England with lake-effect snow expected to move across the Great Lakes region through Wednesday.

Since the weekend, snow, sleet and ice has caused thousands to lose power and has forced the cancellation of numerous Red Cross blood drives around the country. The Red Cross is providing relief in states including Oklahoma, Kentucky, Montana, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Nevada, West Virginia and Idaho.

PLEASE GIVE BLOOD The winter weather across many parts of the U.S. has so far forced the cancellation of 115 Red Cross blood drives in 18 states and the District of Columbia, resulting in more than 4,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations since last Wednesday.

While the Red Cross blood supply is currently sufficient to meet hospital demand, winter is always a challenging time to ensure enough blood is on the shelves. While all blood types are needed, the Red Cross especially urges all eligible donors with blood types O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative to make a lifesaving appointment.

Donors in unaffected areas are encouraged to make and keep blood and platelet donation appointments to help offset the current shortfall. Donors in affected areas are urged to give blood or platelets once the storm has passed and travel is deemed safe. Appointments can be online at redcrossblood.org 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.

WINTER WEATHER SAFETY TIPS The Red Cross has several tips for staying safe during winter weather:

  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, have a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
  • If you must go outside, dress in several layers of lightweight clothing and wear mittens and a hat. Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
  • Bring pets/companion animals inside. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
  • Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold.
  • If you lose power, use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
  • Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
  • If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • If it looks like the power will be out for more than a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items. Keep your food in a dry, cool spot and covered at all times.
  • You can also download the Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores. See all Red Cross apps at redcross.org/mobileapps.

    For more information on how to stay safe this winter, visit the winter storm safety information available on this web site.

    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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.