The Greater Ozarks Chapter of the American Red is prepared to meet the emergency needs of people affected by the predicted winter storm if necessary. If requested by emergency managers and directors, it will request shelters as necessary. Volunteers have also been placed on standby.
With heavy snow, ice, and freezing rain predicted for Missouri, the Greater Ozarks Chapter recommends taking a few steps that will help you stay safe despite the winter weather.
“Winter storms can knock down power lines, make travel difficult because of icy road conditions, and keep people isolated in their homes for several days,” said spokesperson Joann Moore. “That’s why now is the perfect time to get ready before this winter storm hits our area. Make sure you have the food and supplies on hand now that you may need if it’s not safe to travel or if the power goes out.”
The Red Cross recommends stocking up on easy-to-prepare foods, medications for family members, diapers, baby formula, pet food, extra-batteries for flashlights and hygiene items like toilet paper and tissues. Make sure you have enough wood or coal for fireplaces or coal-burning stoves. In addition, the Red Cross offers the following ideas to help stay safe during winter storms:
Tips for staying safe at home
• Be careful with candles – do not use candles for lighting if the power goes out. Use flashlights only.
• Don’t use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement or garage. Locate unite away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
• Prevent frozen pipes — when the weather is very cold outside, open cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around water pipes. Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe — even at a trickle — helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water running through it is above freezing. Keep the thermostat set to a consistent temperature.
• Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
• If you plan on using a fireplace to stay warm, keep a glass or metal fire screen around the fireplace and never leave a lit fire unattended.
• 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.
• Avoid overloading electrical outlets.
• 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.
Tips for protecting yourself while outdoors and traveling
• When possible stay indoors during the storm.
• 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 that covers 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 supplies kit in your vehicle with extra food and blankets.
• Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, 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.
• 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.
Visit Redcross.org for more information on how to keep safe and prepared for any emergency.