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Red Cross Gets Ready as Winter Storm Threatens

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Red Cross Gets Ready as Winter Storm Threatens Millions; Urges People to Prepare for Severe Winter Weather

WASHINGTON, Thursday, January 21, 2016 — The American Red Cross is preparing to respond all along the East Coast as a massive winter storm threatens.

Red Cross chapters from Tennessee and North Carolina up through New England are on alert and carefully monitoring weather forecasts. Red Cross volunteers, relief supplies, emergency vehicles and shelters are always ready to provide help when needed. The potentially crippling winter storm is expected to bring heavy snow and ice, strong winds and possible power outages to the region. Blizzard conditions are possible in some areas. The Red Cross has safety steps people should follow during this massive storm which will affect people through the weekend.

“This storm has the potential to affect millions of people and we urge everyone to stay alert to changing weather conditions and listen to the advice of local officials,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “The Red Cross stands ready to provide support, but the most important thing people can do right now is to get prepared.”

GET PREPARED NOW Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for winter weather alerts and warnings. The app’s Winter Storm section contains expert advice for what to do before, during and after winter storms. Get an emergency kit ready now - details about what should be included are on the Red Cross web site.

DURING THE STORM Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Be extremely careful when shoveling snow. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. Check on children, elderly neighbors and people with disabilities. Other safety steps include:

  • Run water even at a trickle to avoid pipes freezing.
  • Bring animals inside and move livestock to sheltered areas.
  • If someone’s home loses power or heat during extreme cold, they should go to a designated public shelter.
  • Never use a generator, grill, or other fuel or charcoal burning device inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate them away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.

DRIVING If possible, avoid driving in this storm. If someone has to drive, they should have a window scraper, kitty litter or sand in case their vehicle gets stuck, extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk. Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help see. Full details are available here.

HOME FIRE DANGER Storms like this can result in a high number of home fires.

  • Use flashlights for light, not candles.
  • People should never use a stove or oven to heat their home. If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs
  • Place space heaters on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

WINTER WEATHER AFFECTS BLOOD AND PLATELET DONATIONS The Red Cross has an emergency need for blood and platelet donors. Since January 1, more than 60 blood drives in a dozen states were cancelled because of inclement weather, resulting in more than 2,300 uncollected blood and platelet donations. With the approaching winter storm predicted to affect multiple states along the East Coast, more blood drives will likely be cancelled.

Despite the weather, hospital patients across the country still need blood. Eligible blood and platelet donors who live in areas where it is safe to travel are encouraged to make an appointment to give now, and those in areas affected by severe weather are asked to make and keep appointments when it is safe to do so. To make an appointment to donate, download the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Full details on how to stay safe are available in the Red Cross Winter Storm preparednesssection of redcross.org.

HOW TO HELP You can help people affected by disasters like winter storms or countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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 visitredcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.