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Stay Safe as Winter Blasts Much of U.S. with Snow and Cold
Be extremely careful if you have to shovel snow.
Millions of people across the United States are dealing with cold temperatures and below-zero wind chills as they dig out from heavy snow that buried much of the northern part of the country.
The storm already has forced the cancellation of more than 30 Red Cross blood drives, resulting in the inability to collect as many as 1,250 blood donations.
The Red Cross urges people to be careful during the extreme cold and is working with emergency officials and prepared to respond if necessary. If someone lives in a region unaffected by the weather, they are asked to consider making an appointment to donate blood or platelets.
To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.
HOW TO STAY SAFE To stay safe during this winter storm, the Red Cross urges people to follow these steps:
Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat.
Be extremely careful if you have to shovel snow. It is physically strenuous work, so take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
Watch for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
Don’t forget your pets – bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
Avoid frozen pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
Download the American Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores. See all Red Cross apps at redcross.org/mobileapps.
SPACE HEATERS, FIREPLACES AND GENERATORS
Heating systems are running at full force and many people are resorting to other sources to keep their homes warm. To avoid fire danger, you should remember the following:
Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
For more information on how to stay safe this winter, visit the winter storm safety information available on this web site.
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.
Emergency is the one-download resource that puts vital information at your fingertips. This “all-inclusive” app combines more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts from natural to man-made, giving you real-time information to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
Users can schedule appointments, track total donations, earn rewards and invite others to join them on a lifesaving team. The Blood Donor App is a great new way to help meet the constant need for blood.
Help your child become a confident swimmer. The American Red Cross Swim app puts the 100 year old Learn to Swim program in the palm of your hand. Brush up on your water safety knowledge, play parent child games together and track your child’s progress in the class.
Take care of your furry family member. The American Red Cross Pet First Aid app puts veterinary advice for everyday emergencies in the palm of your hand. Get the app and be prepared to act when called upon. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know Pet First Aid.
Be ready for wildfires with the Wildfire App by the American Red Cross. Get the latest state-by-state wildfire news and updates, prepare your family, home and pets, let loved ones know that you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an area that is susceptible to wildfires or has loved ones that do.
Get your family and home ready for a tornado with the official Tornado App from the American Red Cross. The Tornado app puts everything you need to know prepare for a tornado – and all that comes with it – in the palm of your hand. With interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to be ready.
The official American Red Cross First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Available for iPhone and Android devices, the official American Red Cross First Aid app offers videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know first aid.
Monitor conditions in your area or throughout the storm track, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an area where a hurricane may strike or has loved ones who do.
The Red Cross Shelter Finder is available in the iTunes store and works on iOS devices. The Shelter Finder displays open Red Cross shelters and their current population on an easy to use map interface.
Be ready for an earthquake with Earthquake by American Red Cross. Get notified when an earthquake occurs, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an earthquake-prone area or has loved ones who do.