TUESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2019 — A bitter blast of cold weather that will last the rest of this week. The American Red Cross has disaster workers and supplies on standby and ready to respond in case of an emergency like a widespread power outage.
“Even though it’s January and we anticipate cold and snow, the harsh conditions we are expecting could be dangerous,” said Guy Triano, Regional CEO. “Whether trying to keep your home warm in the bitter cold or having to be on the roads or outside shoveling in the storm, you can follow these steps to get through it and keep your family safe.”
COPING WITH THE BITTER COLD
- Wear layers of clothing, a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots.
- Be careful when tackling strenuous tasks like shoveling snow in cold temperatures. Take frequent breaks.
- 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.
· Avoid frozen pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid freezing pipes. Open cabinet doors to allow warmer air from the room to get to pipes near sinks, etc.
HEAT YOUR HOME SAFELY
· All heaters need space. Keep children, pets and things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
· If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets - never into an extension cord or power strip.
· Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
· Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
· Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
· If the power goes out, always run a generator outside, never inside the home including in the basement or garage. Generators produce deadly carbon monoxide and must be placed in well ventilated areas.
BLOOD SUPPLY ALREADY LOW Winter weather also impacts blood and platelet donations. Storms cause drives to be postponed and bitter cold keeps some donors at home. Every day in Eastern Pennsylvania, the Red Cross needs to collect nearly 800 units of blood and platelets — regardless of the weather — in order to meet the needs of patients. Donors of all blood types are encouraged to lend an arm to help ensure hospitals have an adequate supply of blood and platelets. To find a donation site near you, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS.
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.