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Red Cross shelters 500 as winter storm cuts power in Oklahoma, Tennessee


The American Red Cross is on the scene in Oklahoma and Tennessee where a strong winter storm has left thousands of homes and business without power.

The Red Cross helped 500 people stay warm in 12 shelters overnight. According to the National Weather Service, the area is under a freezing fog advisory today with ice accumulation and low visibility expected.

Many of those who have remained in their homes are resorting to extreme measures to stay warm, huddling next to wood fires and portable heaters. If your home has lost power:

  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including electronics.
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances, equipment, or electronics you were using when the power went out.
  • Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
  • Do not use a generator indoors. Locate generators away from doors, windows and vents.
  • If you are using a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect the generator to your home’s electrical system.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours, 24 hours if it is half full, and only if the door remains closed.
  • Throw away food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color, or texture. When in doubt, throw it out.

You can get more information on winter storm and power loss safety by visiting www.redcross.org. Keep up with Red Cross response to winter weather in the Disaster Online Newsroom.