The fourth nor’easter this month is crashing into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the country with heavy snow, strong winds and possible coastal flooding and power outages. The American Red Cross is ready to help those in the path of this storm if needed.
The string of winter storms is also impacting blood and platelet collections. As many as 350 Red Cross blood drives have been cancelled just this month due to severe winter weather. See how you can help below.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports heavy snow will impact much of the east, including several major cities, through Thursday. Some areas could get as much as a foot of snow from this latest blast of winter.
The Red Cross is prepared to respond if needed. More than 100 disaster workers in the Northeast are ready, a shelter is already open, and more are on stand-by if needed. The Red Cross is also urging people to stay safe, issuing winter storm safety steps across the region.
WINTER STORM SAFETY INFORMATION HERE
The Red Cross has steps people should take to stay safe during the storm.Assemble an emergency preparedness kit.Create a household evacuation plan that includes your pets.Stay off the road if possible during severe weather. If you must drive in winter weather, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Don’t use cruise control. Don’t pass snow plows.If you become stranded, stay in your vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible. You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow. 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. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.Wear layers of clothing, a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots.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.Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.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. Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
POWER OUTAGEUse flash lights in the dark, not candles.Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.If you are using a generator be sure you understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to use generators safely.Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
SPACE HEATERSIf using a space heater, look for a model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over. Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface in the home. Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces. Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
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.
STORMS CANCELLING BLOOD DRIVES
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD The four nor’easters are having a brutal impact on the ability of the Red Cross to collect lifesaving blood and platelet donations for patients in need. In fact, approximately 350 Red Cross blood drives have been cancelled just this month due to severe winter weather, resulting in thousands of uncollected blood and platelet donations. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. is counting on a blood transfusion to help save their lives. These patients include accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. Donors in weather-affected areas are urged to give blood or platelets when the storm has passed and it is safe to travel.Donors in areas unaffected by the weather may be helping patients close to home or patients in areas where donors are unable to give because of inclement weather.Eligible individuals can make an appointment to give by using the Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).