How to prepare for approaching major winter storm


Motorists make their way along an icy road Sunday Jan. 31, 2021 in Philadelphia. After days of frigid temperatures, the Northeast is bracing for a whopper of a storm that could dump well over a foot of snow in many areas and create blizzard-like conditions. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — The North East is expected to be hit with a major winter storm in the next few days and it is important properly prepare to ensure safety.

The American Red Cross Eastern New York Region has issued safety tips specific for winter storms. Tips include cold weather and winter storm safety, home heating safety and power outage responses.

Regional CEO Kevin Coffey shared, “with the threat of snow and cold temperatures, it’s important to be vigilant when it comes to personal safety and staying warm.”

Here are some tips to help prepare for the approaching, and any future winter storms.

Cold weather and winter storm safety tips

  • Listen to a local weather station or NOAA Weather Radio station for critical information on snow storms and blizzards from the National Weather Service
  • Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain, snow or dense fog
  • If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in vehicle, which should include a shovel, blanket, flashlight, water, snacks, first aid kit, extra batteries, sack of sand or cat litter
  • Keep gas take full
  • Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider personal physical conditions, the weather factors and the nature of the task
  • When shoveling snow, take frequent breaks to avoid risk of injury or cardiac arrest
  • Protect from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible
  • Bring pets inside during winter weather
  • Make sure coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and warm clothing are available for all household members, along with extra blankets
  • Eat regular meals and stay hydrated, but avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages

Home heating safety tips

  • Keep all potential sources of fuel, paper, clothing, bedding or rugs, a minimum of three feet away from space heaters, stoves or fireplaces
  • Do not leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended
  • Turn off space heaters and ensure embers in fireplaces are extinguished before going to bed or leaving a residence
  • Place all space heaters on a hard and nonflammable surface
  • New use a cooking range or over to heat a residence
  • Keep fire within the fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs
  • Ensure that all smoke alarms work properly

Power outage safety tips

  • Use flashlights for light, not candles
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible
  • Have coolers on hand and surround food with ice in the cooler or refrigerator to keep foo cold for longer periods of time
  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electric equipment and any appliances, equipment or electronics to avoid damaging them when power is restored
  • Watch animals and keep under direct control
  • If using a generator, never use indoors, including in a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, even with ventilation

For more information regarding emergency preparedness, visit the Red Cross website.

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