PRINCETON, NJ, February 7, 2013 — The American Red Cross is keeping a close eye on the winter storm and urges residents to take steps now to stay safer should severe weather impact New Jersey.
“Red Cross Disaster Services members, in partnership with state government and in coordination with our Counties, stand ready to assist our communities if needed,” said Dennis McNulty, emergency services director, American Red Cross North Jersey Region.
The Red Cross offers the following winter storm safety and preparedness tips.
Know the difference:
Winter Storm Watch - 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.
Winter Storm Warning - Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.
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 for each family member.
Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including the basement or garage. Do not hook up a generator directly to the home's wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment needed directly to the outlets on the generator.
Prevent frozen pipes - when the weather is very cold outside, open cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around water pipes. Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.
Don’t forget family 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.
Avoid using a stove or oven to heat the home. Keep a glass or metal fire screen around the fireplace and never leave a fireplace fire unattended.
If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface. Turn the space heater off when leaving the room or going to sleep. Keep children and pets away from the space heater and do not use it to dry wet clothing.
On the road:
Keep an emergency preparedness kit in the trunk.
Keep the car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
If someone does get stuck, stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety.
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.
Out in the cold:
Dressing in several layers of lightweight clothing keeps someone warmer than a single heavy coat.
Mittens provide more warmth to the hands than gloves. Wear a hat, preferably one that covers the ears.
Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep feet warm and dry and to maintain one’s footing in ice and snow.
Use technology to prepare and stay safe:
Download Red Cross preparedness apps on smartphones. Red Cross free apps offer tips and real-time information to help people prepare, as well as tools to help people keep in touch during and after a major storm. The apps for iPhones or Android phones are available at redcross.org/mobileapps.
For more information on winter storm safety, including a winter storm safety checklist and preparedness tips for power outages, visit redcross.org/winter-storm.
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.
About the American Red Cross North Jersey Region
The American Red Cross North Jersey Region provides programs and services throughout the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren, with a combined population of 5.7 million. The region trains and mobilizes more than 4,500 volunteers who support the delivery of services in the community. Last year, the Red Cross North Jersey Region responded to 419 local disasters, helping 929 families displaced by home fires; collected more than 28,500 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; helped 884 military families send emergency messages, receive financial assistance, and get counseling and referrals; and trained 143,344 individuals with life-saving skills in CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. Follow the North Jersey Region social media channels.