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Red Cross Readies Workers, Resources for Severe Winter Weather

Little girl holding Red Cross blanket in a Red Cross shelter
Being prepared is one of the best ways to prevent emergencies. The Red Cross offers these tips for staying safe tonight and through the winter season.

The American Red Cross is proactively opening a shelter/warming center and readying its workers and resources in multiple counties anticipation of potential blizzard conditions this evening.   

At the request of emergency management, Red Cross volunteers will open and staff a warming center at 8 p.m. tonight at the Douglas County Fairgrounds to serve as a safe place to seek shelter for stranded travelers and people displaced by disasters such as home fires. The Red Cross of Colorado has also placed shelter teams, facilities and resources on standby in other counties that may be affected by the severe winter weather.

SAFETY TIPS FOR WINTER WEATHER

Prepare Yourself, Your Car and Your Home

  • Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. (A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.) Install snow tires or ensure your all-season tires have proper tread. Keep an emergency kit in your car, along with a scraper, extra windshield fluid, shovel, warm clothing, flashlight and flares/reflective signage.
  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • Avoid heater break-downs and home fires by having your heating system and/or fireplace cleaned and inspected every year.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
  • Maintain a 3-day supply kit in case you get snowed in and/or your power or heat goes out. Find a full list of supplies here: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm
  • Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.
  •  Take Steps to Prevent Emergencies, Injuries and Accidents

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning and home fires are common hazards during cold snaps. Hypothermia, slips and falls and car accidents are also a risk during these storms.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.
  • Never use an oven to heat your home, and only use alternate heating sources approved for indoor usage.
  • Keep portable heaters on a flat, hard surface at least three feet away from all materials that could burn, including curtains, clothing and furniture. 
  • When you go to bed or leave your home, turn off portable heaters and extinguish all fires and candles.
  • Bring pets/companion animals inside. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure that their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.
  • Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • Review your route and current driving conditions on cotrip.org or call 511 before your departure and plan plenty of time to arrive at your destination.
  • Slow down! Speed limits are posted for optimum driving conditions, but during winter weather conditions, speeds should be reduced. Extend following distances; do not expect 4WD to help you stop any faster.
  • Give snow plows plenty of room and never pass on the right.