Shelters, warming centers open for stranded travelers, those without power
SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 2018 12PM — The impacts of Friday’s Nor’easter continue to be felt across Eastern Pennsylvania. Hundreds of thousands are without power, and highways in the Poconos remain clogged with travelers left stranded by the storm.
In response, the American Red Cross opened several shelters across the region Friday night. Many other communities have opened warming centers and charging stations for those without power. For warming center locations near you, contact your county emergency management agency.
The Red Cross expects to open, or support through partner agencies, several more shelters tonight. Information and locations on these shelters will be released as soon as it is available.
Power outages are expected to last for several days in some places. In addition, county and state officials are working to clear roads as quickly as possible. The Red Cross has these important safety tips to keep you and your family safe in the aftermath of the Nor’easter.
- If you are stranded, stay in your vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible. You can become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.
- 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.
WINTER STORM SAFETY
- Wear layers of clothing, a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots if out in the snow.
- Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy, wet 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
- Use 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. Never use a generator indoors or in a garage. It must be kept outside in a well ventilated area.
- 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.
- If using a space heater, 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 leaving home.
- Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
DOWNLOAD RED CROSS 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 you encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.
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.