A major winter storm is set to hit the East Coast beginning Wednesday with the National Weather Service issuing winter storm warnings from as far south as Georgia to New England. The southern states could see sleet, snow and freezing rain with the Mid-Atlantic and New England states getting up to a foot of snow.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD Severe winter weather can have a negative impact on the blood supply. Inclement weather, road conditions and power outages often result in the cancellation of blood drives and a shortfall of blood and platelet donations. These negative impacts are compounded due to the December holidays and COVID-19.
With winter weather potentially impacting portions of the U.S., the American Red Cross encourages eligible blood and platelet donors to make an appointment to give before travel conditions become hazardous or, for those in unaffected areas, to make an appointment to give as soon as possible to help restock the blood supply. The Red Cross must collect more than 2,600 platelet and nearly 13,000 blood donations every day for patients at about 2,500 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide, regardless of weather or holiday.
To find a blood drive near you, to host a blood drive or to schedule an appointment to give blood, use the Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To learn more about hosting a blood drive and to sign up to sponsor a drive this winter, visit RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.
WINTER STORM SAFETY
Stay indoors and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater. If you feel too warm, remove layers to avoid sweating; if you feel chilled, add layers. Check on relatives, neighbors and friends, particularly if they are elderly or if they live alone
The storm will bring dangerous travel conditions and the Red Cross urges everyone to stay off the road if possible during severe weather. If you must drive in winter weather, follow these tips:
- In your vehicle keep a windshield scraper small broom, small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels, a set of tire chains or traction mats, matches in a waterproof container and a brightly colored (preferably red) cloth to tie to the antenna. Also carry an emergency supply kit, including warm clothing.
- Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road.
- Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
- Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
- Don’t pass snow plows.
- Ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways.
- If you become stranded, stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards (91 meters). You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.
- Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.
- Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
- Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
STAY SAFE OUTSIDE
If you must go outside:
- Wear layered clothing, mittens or gloves, and a hat. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens or gloves and a hat will prevent the loss of body heat.
- Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from severely cold air. Avoid taking deep breaths; minimize talking.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly away from the body.
- Stretch before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This will reduce your chances of muscle injury.
- Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a vehicle, or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Slips and falls occur frequently in winter weather, resulting in painful and sometimes disabling injuries.
- If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation if possible. About 70% of winter deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles
DOWNLOAD APPS People can download the Red Cross Emergency app for instant access to weather alerts for their area and where loved ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid app in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.