By Krista Farley Raines, Regional Communications & Marketing Director, American Red Cross – West Virginia Region
Winter weather has finally arrived in the Mountain State, blanketing the region in beautiful – but potentially hazardous – snow. To help you better prepare yourself for winter emergencies, our friends from the American Red Cross West Virginia Region are guest blogging a two-part series about winter weather safety procedures for your home and your car.
Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous, but if you plan ahead, you can keep your family safe. Minimize travel outdoors, but if you have to go out dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, wear mittens and a hat that covers your ears. Don’t forget to leave water running to help prevent pipes from freezing when you leave your house.
If you have to travel, having a preparedness kit in your vehicle at all times is essential. A Vehicle Winter Preparedness Kit should include:
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Cell phone car charger
- Blanket and/or emergency mylar blanket
- Fleece hat, gloves, scarf
- Folding shovel
- Sand or cat Litter
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- First-aid kit
- Small battery-operated radio
- Emergency contact card with names and phone numbers
- Extra prescription medications
- Bottled water
- High protein snacks
If driving is unavoidable, safety should be your number one priority. Make sure your vehicle has plenty of gas, and pay attention to the weather forecast for your travel route and destination. Buckle up, be alert and drive slowly with caution. In the event your vehicle becomes disabled, keep the car running, make sure the exhaust pipe is clear and leave the window open a crack until help arrives. Additionally, know the differences between winter storm outlooks, advisories, watches and warnings.
To learn more about to prepare for, respond to and recover from a disaster, visit redcross.org. And don’t miss our first post on winter safety for your home.