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Red Cross Urges People to Stay Warm as Jack Frost Puts East on Ice

The Red Cross has steps people can take to stay safe during the freezing temperatures

The brutal blast of cold weather continues to keep the eastern half of the country shivering, especially in Florida where almost 400 people stayed warm overnight in shelters opened or supported by the American Red Cross.

Folks in New England are seeing sub-zero temperatures on their thermometers, with wind chills making it feel as cold as 20 below zero. The Red Cross has steps people can take to stay safe during the freezing temperatures:

  • Everyone should dress in layers, wearing warm, loose-fitting lightweight clothing to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. They should stay indoors if possible.
  • It’s a good idea to remember people who may need special help, such as the elderly who live alone or people with disabilities. Check on them to make sure they are okay.
  • If the heat goes out, go to a designated public shelter during this extreme cold.
  • Remember your animals and make sure their water isn’t frozen and they can get to their food. If possible, bring them indoors.
  • Many people are resorting to supplemental heating sources to cut down on costs. These alternate heating sources can be dangerous if not used properly. The Red Cross offers the following safety tips on how to properly use additional heating resources to keep warm:

  • Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.
  • Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended.
  • Turn off space heaters or extinguish the fireplace before going to bed or leaving home.
  • Place a space heater on a hard, level, nonflammable surface. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away. Look for a space heater model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • When using a fireplace, use a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks or rolling logs and keep the fire in the fireplace.
  • Keep all flammable materials such as newspapers, matches, bedding, clothing, carpets and rugs at least three feet away from heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces and stoves.
  • For more information on what you can do to keep you and your loved ones safe, visit the Preparedness section of our website.

    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.