Friday, December 18, 2019 — Weather forecasters are predicting some nasty winter weather for much of the eastern United States over the next few days and the American Red Cross wants everyone to know what to do to be prepared.
Winter Storm Safety Checklist
For instance, do you know the difference between a winter storm watch and winter storm warning? A winter storm watch means a winter storm is possible in your area. If a storm watch is issued, watch for changing weather conditions and avoid unnecessary travel. A winter storm warning means the winter storm is on its way. When a storm warning is issued, stay indoors.
A blizzard warning means your area is headed for blinding, wind-driven snow, heavy winds, and dangerous wind chills and you should seek shelter immediately.
Follow these tips to stay safe and warm during the storm:
- Do not use candles for lighting if the power goes out. Use flashlights only.
- Use generators correctly—never operate a generator inside your home, including the basement or garage. Do not hook up a generator directly to your home's wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
- Don’t forget your pets—bring them indoors. If you can’t bring them inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they can get to unfrozen water.
If you must go outside—
- Wear layered lightweight clothing, which will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs.
- Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy, sidewalks.
After the storm, be extremely careful if you have to shovel snow. It is physically strenuous work, so take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. Seek medical attention immediately if:
- You have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
- You have symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if you must...
- Carry an emergency preparedness kit in the trunk.
- Keep your car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.