As a Nor’easter sets its sights on the entire region, the American Red Cross is urging residents to be prepared—not only for the snow, but for power outages that could result due to damaging winds.
Many areas already affected by Superstorm Sandy could be impacted by this new storm.
If someone is staying in their home without power, they should:
- Gather everyone, including pets, in one room - a small, well-insulated room with few windows. A room facing south is warmer. Block this room off and put cardboard and blankets over the windows at night to minimize heat loss. If you have hardwood floors, add a carpet or blanket.
- Dress in thin layers instead of bulky garments. Wear a hat, gloves, scarf and heavy socks. Wrap oneself in blankets if needed. Use hand and feet warmers if available.
- At bedtime, get under layers of blankets and wear layer layers of clothing and a hat.
FLOODING Areas already devastated along the coast could see new flooding from storm surges brought on by the Nor’easter. People should take the following steps if threatened by flooding:
- Stay away from floodwaters. If someone comes upon water above their ankles or a flooded road, turn around and go another way.
- Keep children away from the water.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to see flood danger.
- Keep away from loose or downed power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
- Stay out of any building that has water around it.
GENERAL SAFETY INFORMATION This new storm could cause power outages, especially in areas where trees are already weakened by Sandy. If possible, people who may be in the Nor’easter’s path should fill their gas tanks now, if possible, and get extra cash to keep on hand because if the power goes out, gas stations can’t pump gas and ATMs won’t work.
Other steps to take before the storm arrives are:
- Bring anything inside that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture, etc.).
- Keep up-to-date about the storm’s progress and find out about your community’s disaster response plan.
- Build or restock disaster supply kits now. Replace or restock items as needed. These supplies should include water and non-perishable food for each person in the home, a flashlight and extra batteries, medications and medical items, a first aid kit, and a battery-powered or hand crank radio.
COLD WEATHER Temperatures are expected to drop as the storm moves up the coast. People should take the following steps:
- Make sure coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and warm clothing are available for all household members, along with extra blankets.
- Eat regular meals and stay hydrated, but avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
- When shoveling snow, take frequent breaks to avoid risk of injury or cardiac arrest.
POWER OUTAGE If the power goes out, people should:
- Use flashlights for light, not candles.
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Check refrigerated food for spoilage and if in doubt, throw it out. Your refrigerator will keep cold for about 4 hours. If the freezer is full, it will keep its temperature for about 48 hours.
- Have coolers on hand and surround your food with ice in the cooler or refrigerator to keep food cold for a longer period of time. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
- Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment and any appliances, equipment or electronics to avoid damaging them when the power is restored.
- Avoid unnecessary travel as traffic lights will be out and roads congested.
- Watch animals and keep them under your direct control.
USING A GENERATOR If someone is planning to use a generator, never use it indoors, including in a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace or other area, even with ventilation. Generators put off carbon monoxide fumes, which can be deadly. Full details are available at the link above.
For more information on winter storm preparedness, visit redcross.org
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.