New Hampshire is prone to winter storms, and the New Hampshire Region of the American Red Cross alongside Unitil Corporation urges residents to take steps now to stay safer when severe weather threatens.
“By preparing together for winter storms, we can make our families safer and our communities more resilient,” said Maria White, CEO of Red Cross New Hampshire. “The Red Cross and Unitil can help you and your family prepare for this winter storm by following our important preparedness tips for power outages and keeping your home safe when using alternative heating sources.”
“Being prepared is the best way to keep your families safe during the winter months,” said Unitil Media Relations Manager, Alec O’Meara. “Together with the Red Cross, we encourage local residents to replenish their emergency supplies and listen closely to local officials for storm updates.”
As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for winter storms by utilizing the following preparedness tips:
COLD SAFETY TIPS
Temperatures are expected to be extremely cold over the next few days and the winds will make it feel like it is below zero. To stay safe during this winter storm follow these steps:
• Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
• After the storm, be extremely careful if you have to shovel snow. It is physically strenuous work, so take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
• Seek medical attention immediately if you 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 your 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. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
• Download the American 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. See all Red Cross apps at redcross.org/mobileapps.
SPACE HEATERS, FIREPLACES AND GENERATORS
Heating systems are running at full force and many people are resorting to other sources to keep their homes warm. To avoid fire danger, you should remember the following:
• Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
• If you are 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 you are 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 you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
For more information on winter storm preparedness, contact the New Hampshire Region of the American Red Cross at 1-800-464-6693 visit www.redcross.org/nh. We urge you to share these Red Cross winter storm preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.
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 visit redcross.org/nh or visit us on Twitter at @NHRedCross.