As we know, the Ozarks are prone to winter storms, and the American Red Cross in southern Missouri 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 stronger,” said Chris Harmon, Regional Disaster Program Officer. “We want to help your family create a disaster preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by dangerously low temperatures, and the potential for heavy ice in this coming storm.”
One way to begin your preparedness planning is by downloading the free tornado app. Yes, I said tornado. There are two things that are part of this app that are good for all weather situations. The app includes a step by step section to help you prepare your family in order to shelter in place. In the case it gets too bad, and you can’t stay in place, the app also includes a Red Cross shelter locator.
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:
- Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Pack a winter-specific supply kit that includes a warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and water-resistant boots, along with extra blankets and extra warm clothing. Sand or non-clumping kitty litter is good to have on hand to help make walkways or steps less slippery. Additionally, make sure you have a first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries in your home in the event of a power outage.
- Heeding Storm Warnings: A winter storm WATCH means winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions via NOAA Weather radio, or local radio or television stations. A winter storm WARNING means that life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. Individuals in a warning area should take precautions immediately.
- Preparing Your Home and Car: Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full, which will help to keep the fuel line from freezing. Make sure your home is properly insulated by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to help keep cold air out. Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year. Running water, even at a trickle, helps to prevent pipes from freezing.
For more information on winter storm preparedness, contact the American Red Cross at 1-866-206-0256, visit www.redcross.org or www.cruzrojaamericana.org or call 1-800 RED CROSS. 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 or visit us on Twitter at@RedCross.