It may be sunny across most of the Western New York and Finger Lakes Region on Tuesday afternoon, but that is not expected to remain the case much longer. A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for 2am Wednesday through 2am Thursday with high winds, ice accumulations and over a foot of snow possible over the 24 hour period. The American Red Cross urges residents to take steps now to stay safer before the severe weather hits.
“We may be used to wintery conditions this season, but we still need to prepare together to make our families safer and our communities stronger,” said Kenneth J. Turner, Regional Disaster Program Officer. “The Red Cross can help you and your family create a disaster preparedness plan while the sun is shining, before our community is threatened by dangerously low temperatures, snow, ice and strong winds.”
As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for winter storms by:
Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Pack a winter-specific supply kit that includes a warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and water-resistant boots, along with extra blankets and extra warm clothing. Sand or non-clumping kitty litter is good to have on hand to help make walkways or steps less slippery. Additionally, make sure you have a first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries in your home in the event of a power outage.
Heeding Storm Warnings: A winter storm WARNING means that life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. Individuals in a warning area should take precautions immediately.
Preparing Your Home and Car: Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full, which will help to keep the fuel line from freezing. Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supply kit in your vehicle. Make sure your home is properly insulated by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to help keep cold air out. Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year. Running water, even at a trickle, helps to prevent pipes from freezing.
For more information on winter storm preparedness, visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm. We urge you to share these Red Cross winter storm preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.