With significant snow predicted for this weekend, the American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula recommends taking a few steps to help you and your family stay safe in the winter weather.
Stock up on easy-to-prepare foods, medications for family members, infant supplies, pet food, extra-batteries for flashlights, and hygiene items like toilet paper and tissues. Make certain you have enough wood or coal for fireplaces or coal-burning stoves.
Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. If using a space heater, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to safely use the heater. Place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface. Turn the space heater off when you leave the room or go to sleep. Keep children and pets away from your space heater and do not use it to dry wet clothing.
Check on your animals and make certain their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles. If possible, bring them indoors.
When possible, stay indoors during the storm and if you must go out, walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks and stairs. Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, which will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Mittens provide more warmth to your hands than gloves. Wear a hat, preferably one to cover your ears.
Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
If you shovel snow, be extremely careful. Take frequent breaks, stay hydrated and avoid overexertion.
Minimize travel whenever possible. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supply kit in your vehicle with extra food and blankets. Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain, snow or dense fog. Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full—a full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. In addition, seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of frostbite including numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.
The American Red Cross is where people mobilize to help their neighbors—across the street, across the country and across the world—in emergencies. The American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula serves the state of Delaware and Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties in Maryland. Last year, volunteers and paid staff responded to 184 disasters of varying sizes throughout our communities, providing disaster relief – free of charge – to nearly 870 people. Approximately 20,500 people were trained in lifesaving skills such as CPR and First Aid. Nearly 800 emergency communications sent through the Red Cross kept members of the military in touch with their families. More than 500 seniors living independently were given peace of mind through our Lifeline personal emergency response program. More than 8,000 people on the Delmarva Peninsula attended Community Disaster Education presentations, teaching them the 3 steps for emergency preparedness. Since the Red Cross is not a government agency, it relies on valuable donations of talent, time and money to do its humanitarian work. -. www.redcrossdelmarva.org. 1-800-777-6620