How to be Red Cross Ready ahead of winter weather

Posted at 5:33 PM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 14:15:43-05

NORFOLK, Va. - From your car to your home, when the winter snowstorm hits, you'll want to be prepared.

The Red Cross of Virginia says before the snow, you should download any apps that help you get information. For example, the News 3 First Warning Weather app, National Weather Service and Red Cross app can help you stay up-to-date on weather conditions.

In an emergency kit, it's recommended you have at least a three-day supply of food, water and medications, a flashlight with extra batteries, copies of personal documents and a charged cell phone.

You should always avoid hitting the road, but if you do, the Red Cross says to keep an extra supply kit in the trunk.

"What we see during snowstorms is people actually might get stranded on the side of the road, so having a first aid kit -- having extra blankets, if you have some of those hand warmers that you can get at stores that you can break and it will produce heat -- anything that if you're on the side of the road for an extended period of time, having that to-go bag is going to help," Jonathan McNamara, Red Cross spokesperson says.

Here is the Red Cross' Winter Storm Safety Checklist:

What should I do?

  • Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, wear mittens and a hat (preferably one that covers your ears)
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep, your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow
  • Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle
  • Listen to a NOAAWeather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS)
  • Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing
  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year
  • Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water
  • Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing
  • All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear

What supplies do I need?

  • Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
  • Food—at least a 3-day supply of nonperishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAAWeather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery
  • Warmcoats, gloves ormittens, hats, boots and extra blankets and warm clothing for all household members
  • Ample alternate heating methods such as fireplaces or wood- or coal-burning stoves

What do I do after a storm?

  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold
  • Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog
  • Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider your physical condition, the weather factors and the nature of the task
  • Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible
  • Help people who require special assistance such as elderly people living alone, people such as elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children
  • Check on your animals and make sure that their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles. If possible, bring them indoors

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