The American Red Cross is currently preparing for a major winter storm that is forecasted to hit the region late this week and urges people to take action to be ready before the snow starts to fall. Meteorologists are predicting heavy deep snow, and strong winds which could cause dangerous driving conditions and power outages. Volunteers with the Nebraska/SW Iowa Region of the Red Cross are on stand-by should shelters need to be opened for stranded travelers.
“By preparing together for winter storms, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” said Tina Labellarte, Region CEO. “We can help you and your family create a disaster preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by dangerously low temperatures, snow, ice and strong winds.”
As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for winter storms by:
Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Pack a winter-specific supply kit that includes a warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and water-resistant boots, along with extra blankets and extra warm clothing. Sand or non-clumping kitty litter is good to have on hand to help make walkways or steps less slippery. Additionally, make sure you have a first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries in your home in the event of a power outage.
Heeding Storm Warnings: A winter storm WATCH means winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions via NOAA Weather radio, or local radio or television stations. A winter storm WARNING means that life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. Individuals in a warning area should take precautions immediately.
Preparing Your Home and Car: Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full, which will help to keep the fuel line from freezing. Make sure your home is properly insulated by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to help keep cold air out. Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year. Running water, even at a trickle, helps to prevent pipes from freezing.
For more information on winter storm preparedness, contact the American Red Cross at (402) 343-7700, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800 RED CROSS. Please share these Red Cross winter storm preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.