Monday, March 13, 2017 — The American Red Cross is preparing to respond all across Eastern Pennsylvania as a massive winter storm threatens.
Red Cross chapters from Philadelphia northward 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, strong winds and possible power outages to the region. The Red Cross has safety steps people should follow during this massive storm which will affect people over the next few days.
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:
· Bring pets inside and move livestock to sheltered areas.
· If someone’s home loses power or heat, 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.
1. Use flashlights for light, not candles.
2. 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
3. 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 a critical need for platelet and type O negative blood donors to give now and help save lives. Because it is the universal blood type and can be transfused to patients of any blood type, type O negative blood is what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations.
With the approaching winter storm predicted to affect multiple states in the Northeast, 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 calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Full details on how to stay safe are available in the Red Cross Winter Storm preparedness section 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.