A winter storm is expected to bring dangerous icy conditions to a large part of the country through the weekend and the American Red Cross is monitoring the weather and getting prepared to respond if necessary.
The ice storm could affect people from the southern plains and Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast with dangerous travel conditions and power outages. While getting ready to help if needed, the Red Cross also urges people to follow these steps to help remain safe during severe weather.
- FOOD SAFETY - Have one or more coolers on hand and ice. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about four hours. First use food from the refrigerator, then from the freezer.
- ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT - Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including electronics. Turn off or disconnect any appliances, 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.
- SAFE HEATING - Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate the unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- CARBON MONOXIDE Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide. If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you. Read more about using generators safely.
The best way to remain safe is to stay off the road during severe weather, if possible. If you have to drive on icy roads, follow these tips about how to drive safely during a winter storm:
- Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Slow down. Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on icy roadways.
- Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
- Don’t pass snow plows.
- Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways.
More important information on severe weather safety is available on this web site.
People should download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to advice on what to do in emergencies and disasters like winter storms and power outages. You’ll find tips on how to plan ahead in case heavy rain or a snow storm threatens. The app also contains weather alerts, life-saving information and ways to contact family and friends in one free, easy-to-use app for mobile devices.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD
As severe winter weather ravages several parts of the country, snow and icy conditions continue to impact the nation’s blood supply. Since the beginning of December, winter storms have forced the cancellation of approximately 215 Red Cross blood drives in two dozen states, resulting in more than 7,500 uncollected blood and platelet donations.
The Red Cross strongly urges eligible donors in weather affected areas to give blood or platelets once the storm has passed and travel is deemed safe. 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. The Red Cross has the ability to move blood products where and when they are needed most.
Blood and platelet donations are critically needed in the coming days so that patients can continue to receive the lifesaving treatments they need. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).