Bitter arctic air and a winter storm system are putting most of the country in a deep chill through the weekend with major ice storms, power outages and temperatures ten to 30 degrees below normal. The American Red Cross has ten ways people can stay safe during the deep freeze.
COLD SAFETY TIPS
1. Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.
2. Bring pets 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.
3. Protect your pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
7. If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
8. Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
9. 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.
10. 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.
For more information on how to stay safe this winter, visit the winter storm safety information available on this web site.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD The winter storm striking much of the country has forced the cancellation of 35 Red Cross blood drives in seven states, resulting in a shortfall of more than 1,100 blood and platelet donations since Wednesday. While the Red Cross blood supply is currently sufficient to meet hospital demand, winter is always a challenging time to ensure enough blood is on the shelves. While all blood types are needed, the Red Cross especially urges all eligible donors with blood types O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative to make a lifesaving appointment.
Donors in unaffected areas are encouraged to make and keep blood and platelet donation appointments to help offset the current shortfall. Donors in affected areas are urged to give blood or platelets once the storm has passed and travel is deemed safe. Appointments can be online at redcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. 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.