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Red Cross Gives Safety Tips For Winter Weather Survival

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- With winter weather in the forecast, The American Red Cross is urging residents to take steps now to be ready - and safer - when severe weather threatens.

In 2010, Oklahoma was heavily impacted by a snowstorm on Christmas Eve that stranded travelers. During this event and the following ice storm in January, Red Cross volunteers provided emergency shelter to those impacted by the storms.

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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 Winter Emergency Preparedness 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 to have on hand to help make walkways or steps less slippery
  • A first aid kit and essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, flashlights
  • A battery-powered radio with extra batteries in your home in the event of a power outage
  • Three gallons of water per day, per person
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Extra cash

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.

Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including the basement or garage. Generators can create deadly carbon monoxide. Do not hook up a generator directly to the home's wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment needed directly to the outlets on the generator.

If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface. Turn the space heater off when leaving the room or going to sleep. Keep children and pets away from the space heater and do not use it to dry wet clothing.

Plan for your pets.  Don't forget family pets – bring them indoors. If that's not possible, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they can get to unfrozen water.

For more information on winter storm preparedness, contact visit http://www.redcross.org or http://www.cruzrojaamericana.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS. 

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