Northwest Ohio Red Cross Offers Tips for Winter Storm Safety

The best thing you can do is avoid driving during a winter storm.

Several storm systems are scheduled to collide in the next few days and weather experts say this could result in significant snowfall from our area into New England and the northeast over the weekend. The American Red Cross offers the following steps to stay safe during these and other winter storms.

The best thing you can do is avoid driving during a winter storm. If you have to drive, the safest thing you can do is plan to arrive at your destination before the storm hits. Watch weather predictions for your entire route so you know what to expect along the way.

IF YOU MUST TRAVEL WHILE IT’S SNOWING, make sure you have an emergency preparedness kit in the car. Keep your car's gas tank full to keep the fuel line from freezing. Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.

IF YOU GET STUCK IN THE SNOW, stay with the car. Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see. Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won't back up in the car. Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle. Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.

IF THE POWER GOES OUT, use flashlights to provide light. Do not use candles for lighting. Don’t forget your pets – bring them indoors. If that’s not possible, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they can get to unfrozen water. Also follow these tips:

  • Open cabinet doors; let cold water – even a trickle - drip from the faucet to help prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to a consistent temperature.
  • Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
  • If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface. Turn it off when you leave the room or go to sleep. Keep children and pets away from it and do not use it to dry wet clothing.
  • Use a sturdy fire screen around fireplaces when in use.
  • Use generators correctly – never operate one inside your home, including the basement or garage. Do not hook up one directly to your home's wiring but rather power directly to the outlets on the generator.
  • Check smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries as necessary.
  • Download the American Red Cross First Aid App. Once you download the app you have instant access to expert advice for everyday emergencies wherever you are - even without mobile connectivity.