Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow. Lots and Lots of Snow. Here's How to Stay Safe!

Nothing can shut Texas down faster than 6 inches of snow and ice! With forecasted weather conditions predicted to get worse before better, North Texans are urged to make a plan of action now! There are steps you can take to keep all members of your household as comfortable as possible while waiting out the current winter storm.

STEP 1: Make a Plan
• Fill up the gas tank
• Keep a non-cordless telephone in your home
• Bring pets inside
• Check on your neighbors
• Stay close to weather reports so you don’t get left in the cold
• Minimize Travel
• Charge cell phones and laptops
• Have extra firewood on hand (use only if you know your chimney is safe)

STEP 2: Build a Kit--Put together an emergency supplies kit with the following items:
• Flashlights—NEVER use candles for emergency lighting
• Extra Batteries
• First Aid Supplies
• Battery Operated AM/FM Radio or a NOAA Weather Radio
• Non-perishable foods that can be opened and eaten without cooking

STEP 3: Be Safe!
• Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog
• Keep extra blankets, warm mittens and kitty litter in your car
• When safe, go to a Red Cross shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold
• Protect yourself from hypothermia or frostbite by wearing warm, loose fitting clothes in several layers
• Never use a generator indoors

FOOD SAFETY IN A POWER OUTAGE: One of the biggest concerns when the lights go out is how long food in the refrigerator and freezer will last. The following guidelines will help to determine food safety.

• An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours
• A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if the freezer is half full)
• Keep ice coolers and ice on hand to store refrigerated foods if the power goes out.

Winter weather is one of the most difficult disasters for the people affected, and for those responding. The American Red Cross has taken precautionary measures such as communicating with emergency managers throughout the area, polling volunteers for availability and ensuring that supplies are ready to roll when needed.

In the event that power outages create a need for safe shelters, the American Red Cross will be ready. In the meantime, find a hill and a cardboard box, but don't break any bones!

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