The best thing people can do is stay inside if possible and avoid unnecessary travel. If someone must go outside, layered lightweight clothing will keep them warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Other safety tips include:
- Prevent frozen pipes by opening cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around water pipes. Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to a consistent temperature.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you shovel snow, be extremely careful. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. Avoid overexertion.
- Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if you must:
- Carry a Disaster Supplies 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.
Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Use perishable foods in the refrigerator first. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. Then use food from the freezer, which will hold its temperature for about 48 hours if the door remains closed (24 hours if the freezer is only half full). If it looks like your power will be out for more than a day, use a cooler with ice for food in your freezer.
For more information on winter storm safety, visit www.redcross.org.
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.