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Red Cross Offers Safety Tips as Arctic Blast Hits Minnesota

Red Cross Offers Safety Tips as Arctic Blast Hits Minnesota
Local Red Cross workers responded to more than 700 home fires in Minnesota during 2014, eight in just the past few days.

Bitter arctic air will put millions of Minnesotans in a deep chill overnight with wind chills 25-30 degrees below zero. The American Red Cross recommends the following tips to stay safe during the deep freeze.

COLD SAFETY TIPS

  • Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
  • Someone should seek medical attention immediately if they have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
  • Watch for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
  • Don’t forget family pets – bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
  • Avoid frozen pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
  • Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes.
  • Download the Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores.
  • HOME FIRE RISK INCREASES DURING COLD

    Local Red Cross workers responded to more than 700 home fires in Minnesota during 2014, eight in just the past few days. During extremely cold weather, the risk for a fire in someone’s home can increase. To avoid fire danger, remember the following:

  • Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.
  • Remember "3 feet from heat". If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
  • Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment someone wants to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
  • About the American Red Cross

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. The Minnesota Region serves 5.2 million people across Minnesota and part of western Wisconsin with offices in Duluth, Mankato, Minneapolis, Rochester and St. Cloud. For more information, please visit redcross.org/mn. Like us on Facebook: American Red Cross Minnesota Region. Follow us on Twitter: @mnredcross.

    MEDIA CONTACT:

    Carrie Carlson-Guest

    (612) 743-5555

    carrie.carlson-guest@redcross.org