Red Cross Safety Tips for Severe, Icy Winter Weather
Stay Informed. Listen regularly to your local weather forecasts. Stay current on how conditions could affect you.
Make A Plan. Be prepared for power outages. Check now for what your needs may be in the event of a power outage for a day or two or longer. Think about non-perishable foods, keeping phones powered (do you have a car charger? And is there enough gas in the car to use the charger?) What is your ‘plan B’ for any needed medical equipment that is a must have regardless of the length of outages.
Use flashlights instead of candles. Also, do not use fireplaces that have not been recently inspected. Red Cross Responders stay busy during the winter at homes burned by fireplaces and chimneys that have not been inspected. Likewise do not use stove or ovens to heat the home. Use heating sources only as directed.
Use Generators Only As Directed. Do not bring a generator inside your home, garage or basement. Also, never connect a portable generator to your electrical system. Good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home just in case. Your smoke alarm may have one. Read the directions that came with your generator before using.
Be ready in case power outages last more than a day, by having a cooler filled with ice to move food from the refrigerator. If temperatures are below freezing, place food outside in a safe container until power is restored-that’s colder than the 40 degrees to keep food chilled.
Driving is strongly discouraged, should the Mid-South receive freezing rain or sleet. If you must travel, plan to leave before wintery precipitation begins in your area or delay your trip until roads are safe to travel. Check with the Tennessee, Arkansas, or Mississippi Department of Transportation for the latest road conditions. Take additional care when crossing bridges and overpasses that may have black ice that is difficult to see until you’re sliding or spinning out of control.
Know road conditions along your route before you leave your home or workplace from beginning to end. The same applies to checking with your airline before leaving for the airport on delays here or at connecting airports. Snow and ice storms will affect more than half of the United States.
Fill up your gas tank. Not only does it prevent gas lines from freezing, you’re prepared in the event of traffic standstills or detours. If roads are ice covered, driving is strongly discouraged.
Have An Emergency Kit Pack emergency supplies for the car, even if you’re traveling a short distance from one side of town to the other. You could be stuck on the road for hours due to an accident.
Remember your four legged family members. If it’s too cold or too dangerous for you to be outside, neither should your furry friends. The American Red Cross Pet First Aid app has tips to keep your dog or cat safe during winter weather.