COLUMBIA, S.C., Tuesday, Jan. 28 – With winter weather heading toward the state, the Central SC Chapter of the American Red Cross is urging residents to take steps now to stay safe when severe weather threatens.
“By preparing together for winter storms, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” Bill Cronin, executive director of the Central SC Red Cross chapter. “We can help you and your family create a disaster preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by dangerously low temperatures, snow, and ice.”
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 Central SC Chapter of the American Red Cross at 803-540-1200, or visit http://www.redcross.org/sc/columbia. 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.
Because of trained disaster volunteers and financial assistance from the community, Red Cross has been able to help more than 2,700 people affected by disasters in the Palmetto SC region since July 1, 2013. On average, the American Red Cross, Palmetto SC Region responds to a disaster every 6.5 hours. The Palmetto SC Region is made up of seven Red Cross chapters spanning 35-counties of South Carolina.
Anyone interested in making a financial contribution to the American Red Cross can visit www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or the Central SC Chapter at 803-540-1200 or mail at P.O. Box 91, Columbia, SC 29202.
About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; 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 mission. For more information, please visit Redcross.org.