Thursday, January 07, 2019 — The unusually cold temperatures across much of the country have caught many people by surprise. Working with its local partners, the American Red Cross has set up shelters and warming centers in multiple states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Texas.
Winter Storm Safety Checklist [PDF]
In advance of the severe cold in Dallas, the Dallas Area Chapter of the Red Cross worked to get people prepared, getting the message out through the media and through social networking sites.
In an area not known for its arctic weather, the Red Cross chapter stressed to the public the seriousness of the situation, and with good reason. As of Thursday morning, the area’s temperatures were in the low 20s, with sustained winds of 25 mph.
Working with the city of Dallas, the Red Cross opened a shelter in the city on Wednesday. As the temperatures began to drop overnight, residents without adequate heat in their homes or with no electricity sought refuge there. According to Anita Foster, senior communications officer at the Dallas Area Chapter, they anticipate the shelter to remain open at least through the early weekend.
As the country waits for a break in the weather, the Red Cross has some advice to get you through what’s shaping up to be a rough winter.
Heat Your Home Safely
- All heaters need space! Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment, fireplaces and stoves.
- Place portable space heaters on a hard, level, nonflammable surface. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away. Look for a model that shuts off automatically if the space heater tips over. Do not use heating equipment to dry wet clothing.
- Never use the stove or oven to heat your home.
- Never leave portable heaters, wood burning stoves or fireplaces unattended. Turn them off before leaving or going to bed.
- Keep the fire in the fireplace by using a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
If you must go outside—
- Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack, so take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
- Wear layered lightweight clothing, which will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves and a hat will prevent loss of body heat.
- 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.
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.
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.