With a major winter storm arriving and Long Island under a blizzard warning, the American Red Cross has issued tips for staying safe during harsh snow conditions.
Stay safe by following these steps:
• Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm.
• Be extremely careful if you have to shovel snow. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
• Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
• Don’t forget your pets—bring them indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
• Download the American Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available in your app store. See all Red Cross apps at redcross.org/mobileapps.
If possible, avoid driving in this storm. If you have to drive, have a window scraper, kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck, extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
• Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
• Let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
• Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
• Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
• Don’t pass snow plows.
• Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.
• If you get stuck, don’t run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don’t use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn’t conk out.
• If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it—don’t abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.
Storms like this can result in a high number of home fires. To avoid fire danger, remember the following:
• Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs
• Place space heaters on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
• Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
• Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
How to Help
You can help people affected by disasters like winter storms and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.