Residents Encouraged to Prepare for “Mixed Bag” of Precipitation with These Safety Tips
ATLANTA, Friday, December 7, 2018 – Georgia’s Red Cross is working closely with emergency partners to monitor the weekend arrival of Winter Storm Diego as it continues its crawl across the Southern U.S. The storm is expected to dump several inches of rain in Georgia, which could evolve as ice and snow in the northern one third of the state.
Freezing temperatures, flash flooding, downed trees and power outages are possible beginning Saturday and into early next week. The Red Cross is asking all Georgians to prepare, now, and remain alert for changing conditions, which can be difficult to forecast.
“One of the first things everyone should do is download the free, Red Cross Emergency App to their mobile phones,” says Carlos Mercado, Director of Disaster Operations for Georgia’s Red Cross. “With this one app, you can subscribe to emergency alerts, connect with your family, and have clear guidance on what to do before, during and after winter weather, floods, power outages, home fires and more. I can’t say enough about the benefit of having this app on your phone, ready to go.”
How to Prepare: Build a Kit; Make a Plan; Be Informed
Whatever the severe weather threat, there are basic steps everyone can take to prepare:
- Download the free, bilingual Red Cross Emergency App (English , Spanish)
- Start with at least a 3-day supply of water and food for each person in your household, flashlights with extra batteries, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, a first aid kit, a spare cellphone battery charger and your emergency contacts list. Assemble them in a kit you can grab and take with you if you need to evacuate.
- Next, add a 3 - 7 day supply of medications and medical items, hygiene items, and special items for infants, toddlers and pets to your kit. Think about the unique needs of family members and plan accordingly.
- Winterize your kit by adding warm blankets and clothing, including spare gloves, hats and boots. Keep a snow shovel, ice scraper and sand/rock salt inside your home to help with icy walkways and steps.
- Create a household evacuation plan that includes your pets. Be prepared to evacuate quickly if asked to do so and know your routes and destinations. Stay connected with friends and family and share your plans.
- Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates. Check your city/county website regularly. Know the difference between weather “watches” and “warnings.
- Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog. Turn around, don’t drown. If you must drive and encounter a flooded roadway while driving, go another way.
- If the power goes out, use flashlights instead of candles. Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space or partially enclosed area.
Home Fire Safety
On average, seven people die every day from home fires and the Red Cross of Georgia responds to more home fire-related emergencies than any other Red Cross Region in the country – nearly 2400 so far in 2018. During cold weather, home heating and lighting sources pose an added threat:
- If using a space heater, place it 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.
- Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
- Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
- Test batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone who lives in the home.
More Red Cross Resources:
- Free bilingual Emergency App (English , Spanish) expert advice on how to prepare & respond to winter weather and other disasters and features real-time local alerts for severe weather and hazards and includes a map with local Red Cross shelters
- Be Red Cross Ready Checklist (English) (Spanish – Landing page)
- Winter Weather Preparedness and Safety – Red Cross Landing Page (English, Spanish)
- Power Outage Checklist (English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese)
- Flood Safety – Red Cross Landing Page
- Home Fire Prevention & Safety Checklist (English, Spanish)
- Home Heating Fires Factsheet (English)
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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross. ###