DALLAS-FORT WORTH, TX — As a historic winter storm passes through North Texas, the American Red Cross is sharing tips on how to stay safe through the storm.
HEAT YOUR HOME SAFELY
Since February 7, the American Red Cross North Texas Region has responded to more than 45 fire events affecting nearly 300 people. Home heating is the second leading cause of fires in this country. It’s important to take preventative steps to keep you and your family safe while keeping warm.
- 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 a ceramic tile floor. Do no place space heaters on rugs, carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord. Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
- 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.
POWER OUTAGE SAFETY
Drops in temperature and rolling power outages may cause some to temporarily lose power. If you find yourself without electricity, take the following steps:
- Use flashlights instead of candles to prevent accidental fires.
- If using a generator, keep the device outside, away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO build up the home. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY – DO NOT DELAY!
- 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.
- Unplug any appliances and electrical equipment. When the power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment. Leave one light turned on so you know when the power is restored.
STAY SAFE DURING WINTER WEATHER
The Red Cross is supporting several county warming centers across North Texas to help those who need temporary relief from the cold. Check your county’s website for detailed information about warming centers open near you.
- 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.
- Avoid driving until the inclement weather has passed. If you must drive, use caution and slow down, especially on ramps, bridges and overpasses which may freeze before roadways.
- If you must be outdoors, be aware of the wind chill. Dress appropriately and avoid staying in the cold too long. Wear a hat and gloves when appropriate with layers of clothing. Avoid unnecessary exposure of any part of the body to the cold.
DOWNLOAD THE RED CROSS ‘EMERGENCY’ APP
The Red Cross Emergency App provides instant access to weather alerts for your area and the areas where your loved ones live. Additional winter weather and home fire safety tips are also included. Download the app for free at your favorite app store or visit redcross.org/apps.