Be Winter Ready with these Safety Tips
Winter Storm Landon could bring potentially dangerous ice to millions from Texas to New England, with an expected significant impact from Memphis, Tennessee to Paducah, Kentucky. As much as a quarter inch of ice is expected and this can cause serious safety issues. Freezing rain is particularly dangerous. The storm moves into Tennessee early Thursday morning until late on Friday night.
The American Red Cross of the Tennessee Region offers several safety tips to help you prepare and deal with the latest winter blast.
Protecting your family while traveling:
- Talk with your family about what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Discussing winter storms ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for young children.
- Stay off the roads unless you must travel.
- Have your vehicle winterized before the winter storm season to decrease your chance of being stranded in cold weather.
- Have a mechanic check your battery, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer fluid, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashing hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster, and oil.
- Install good winter tires with adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate but some jurisdictions require vehicles to be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
- Keep in your vehicle:
- – A windshield scraper and small broom
- – A small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats
- – Matches in a waterproof container
- – A brightly colored (preferably red) cloth to tie to the antenna
- – An emergency supply kit, including warm clothing.
- – Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Keep a supply of non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery.
- Service snow removal equipment before the winter storm season and maintain it in good working order.
- Keep handy a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, water-resistant boots, and extra blankets and warm clothing for each member of the household.
Wind chill: Avoid staying outdoors for long and wear layers of clothing to stay war. This includes mittens or gloves as extremities can get frost bite easily. Make sure to wear waterproof insulated boots and keep feet dry. Get out of the cold if signs for hypothermia or frostbite appear.
Shoveling: Take caution when shoveling in temperatures that are in the teens. Take frequent breaks and be careful not to overexert yourself.
Stay hydrated: Be sure to keep hydrated, especially with warm drinks while avoiding caffeine and alcohol.
Check-Ins: Be sure to check on elderly, disabled or homebound neighbors and family.
Pets: Do not leave your furry friends outdoors! Family pets need to be brought in the home during these frigid temperatures. If that is not possible, be sure to provide them with warm shelter that keeps the cold air and wet conditions out.
Protect your pipes: Prevent frozen pipes in the home by opening cabinet doors and keeping a slow cold-water drip from faucets.
Power Outage and Medical Needs: If a person uses an electronic medically dependent device, make sure they have plans in place in the case of a power outage.
Generators: Never operate a generator indoors. This will cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Follow the manufactures directions for safe setup for your generator.
Heating: Do not use ovens or stoves to heat a home. Always keep fireplaces covered with screens and never leave them unattended.
Space heaters: Use these heaters only on level and non-flammable surfaces. Do not place them on carpet, or near bedding or drapes. Keep pets and children away from any heat source. Do not dry clothes on space heaters. Do not plug them into extension cords, only directly into outlets. Never leave the room or go to sleep with a space heater on.
For more winter weather safety steps, you can download the Red Cross Emergency App for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visitredcross.org/tennessee or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossTN.