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St. Louis Area Red Cross Offers Winter Storm Reminders

Red Cross worker going door to door after huge blizzard.
It’s always a good idea to have emergency supplies for your entire household at home and in your car, because you never know what may happen.

As local forecasters predict a potential severe winter storm this Thursday in the St. Louis area, the American Red Cross Greater St. Louis Region wants the community to be prepared and remain safe during this inclement weather.

“Winter storms can bring a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain, and it’s important to be prepared ahead of the storm,” said Cindy Erickson, Regional CEO of the Red Cross. “It’s always a good idea to have emergency supplies for your entire household at home and in your car, because you never know what may happen.”

Before the Storm

People should know the difference between a winter storm watch and a warning. A watch is issued when winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. During a warning, severe weather conditions have already begun or will begin within 24 hours and people should immediately take precautions. Stay tuned to weather reports for the latest predictions and occurrences.

The Red Cross recommends having the following items on hand in a convenient spot:

  • At least a 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and non-perishable food;
  • A flashlight, battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and extra batteries;
  • A well-stocked first aid kit;
  • A 7-day supply of medications and medical items; and
  • Supplies for babies and pets.
  • When a Storm is Coming

  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • Listen and watch for critical information from the National Weather Service.
  • Bring pets inside. Move other animals and livestock to sheltered areas.
  • Stay inside. If people must go out, wear warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in layers.
  • Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, allow plenty of time to get to your destination and keep emergency supplies in the vehicle.
  • Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Have an emergency kit in your car, including a blanket, food, water, winter coat and accessories, flashlight, first aid kit and vehicle powered phone charger.
  • During the Storm

  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold. Locally people can call 211 to get locations.
  • Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Additional Outdoor Safety Information

  • Before you take on any strenuous work in cold temperatures—such as shoveling snow—consider your physical condition, the weather and the nature of the task. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated while working, and avoid overexertion.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Also seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of frostbite: these include numbness; flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration; and waxy-feeling skin.
  • Erickson reminds everyone: “Check in on your neighbors – especially those requiring special assistance and those living alone.”

    This storm could bring ice to the area, which could lead to power outages. It is a good idea to maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year. Click here to learn about what to do during a power outage.

    People can learn what to do in an emergency in case advanced medical help is delayed by taking a First Aid and CPR/AED course and by downloading the free American Red Cross First Aid App.

    Additional information on what supplies to have and what to do before, during and after a winter storm is located at Downloadable your winter storm safety checklist.

    The Red Cross is part of the “All Ready” campaign, a unified effort among emergency preparedness experts in the bi-state region that focuses on the importance of individual preparedness. The campaign encourages the three critical steps of preparedness: Make a plan, Get a kit, Be informed.

    The American Red Cross Greater St. Louis Region is a proud member agency of the United Way, which makes significant investments every year in Red Cross services.

    About the American Red Cross Greater St. Louis Region: Celebrating 95 years of dedicated service in the region, the American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies. Thousands of volunteers and generous donors provide community support services including disaster relief, preparedness efforts, training in lifesaving skills, service to military families and blood services. The Greater St. Louis Region covers St. Louis City, and 72 surrounding counties in Missouri and Illinois. All disaster relief services are free. To learn more about the Red Cross and how you can help, contact your local Red Cross by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (733-2767) or visit