Be Prepared for Winter Weather

It’s Winter Safety Awareness Week

We have experienced mild autumn weather this year, but if you have spent any amount of time at all in Northeast Ohio, you know the snow could start to fly any day. And forecasters are predicting colder temperatures and more snow for the Great Lakes area this winter, thanks to La Nina. It’s not too early to be prepared for the winter weather ahead, and Governor John Kasich is promoting Winter Safety Awareness Week, Nov. 13-19, encouraging households and businesses to update their safety plans, replenish their disaster supply kits, and prepare themselves, their vehicles and their property for winter-related incidents.

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Freshly fallen snow on the trees (and power lines) of a Northeast Ohio neighborhood.

Be Informed

Know the difference between advisories, watches and warnings.

Advisory: Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconvenience and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.

Watch: Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.

Warning: Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: when in doubt, don’t go out.  Minimize travel outdoors. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.  Emergency kits are available in the Red Cross store.

Your emergency kit for your car should include:

  1. Flashlight with extra batteries
  2. An extra Cell Phone Car Charger
  3. Blanket and/or emergency Mylar blanket
  4. Fleece Hat, Gloves, Scarf (one set for each traveler)
  5. Flares
  6. Folding Shovel
  7. Sand or Cat Litter
  8. Ice Scraper and Snow Brush
  9. First-Aid Kit
  10. Small battery-operated radio
  11. Emergency contact card with names and phone numbers
  12. Extra prescription medications
  13. Bottled Water (4 quarts per traveler – don’t forget pets!)
  14. High protein snacks such as nuts and energy bars; canned fruit and a portable can opener
  15. Maps
  16. Whistle
  17. Baby formula and diapers if you have a small child
  18. A baggie of pet food, if you frequently travel with your four-legged friend

Visit redcross.org for more information on how to make an emergency kit, and keep yourself and your loved ones safe and warm this winter.

Power Outage Preparedness

That you are able to log onto this blog and read this article is a testament to the reliability of the company that supplies your electricity.  Unfortunately, stormy weather can knock out power, as it did Tuesday night for some 20,000 First Energy customers.

And as sweltering as the summer of 2016 has been, the demand for power has been great.  Sometimes, electrical equipment can be overloaded with so many air conditioners running.  That, too can cause power outages. While outages aren’t always predictable, it’s easy to be prepared and keep your loved ones safe during one.

HAVE A KIT

get-a-kitThe top items in your power outage kit should include water, a battery powered radio, flashlights, and extra batteries. It is important not to use candles during a power outage because they a more likely to start a fire. Other items include:

  • Medications (7-day supply) and required medical items
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Non-cordless telephone
  • Full tank of gas

For more information on building a kit, check out our 72-hour kit blog post.

FOOD

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Use perishable food from the refrigerator first, freezer items second and non-perishable food last. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours and a freezer half-full will stay cold for 24 hours.

ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT

Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including appliances, equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. It is important to do this because when the power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment. You can protect appliances that can’t be unplugged, like refrigerators and freezers, with a surge protector.

CAUTION: CARBON MONOXIDE KILLS                CO2

Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside an enclosed area. Cooking in enclosed areas with alternate sources for electricity can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire. These tips below will help you prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Always locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in your to provide early warning of any accumulating carbon monoxide.
  • If you hear the carbon monoxide alarm sound, move to a fresh air outdoors or an open window or door. Call for help from that location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

For more information on what to do during a power outage please visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/power-outage.

Get more information on surviving during this summer’s relentless heat here.  And download the Red Cross Emergency App, to monitor more than 35 different severe weather an emergency alerts, to help keep you and your family safe this summer and throughout the year.

 

Red Cross partners with TeamSmile at Progressive Field Event

On July 15, the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio partnered with TeamSmile to present the Pillowcase Project to nearly 300 children. The event, organized by TeamSmile, featured a group of local dentists, hygienists and educators who volunteered their time and talents to provide free dental care to underserved children during the one-day event at Progressive Field.

The children were moved through stations that included a preliminary exam, x-rays, cleaning and other work deemed necessary. While waiting for their turn in a dentistry chair, each child had the opportunity to learn more about being prepared for a disaster through the Red Cross Pillowcase Project.

“The ability to partner with TeamSmile presented the perfect opportunity to give back to our community by teaching the children who participated in the program how to be prepared for an emergency,” said Steve Trisler, Regional Disaster Officer for Northeast Ohio.

The Red Cross Pillowcase Project, sponsored by Disney, is a preparedness initiative created for children ages 7 to 11. It teaches the basics of how to stay safe during an emergency, what to have in an emergency kit and how to cope during an emergency. The program is fully customizable to the region; in Northeast Ohio the Red Cross teaches children about home fire safety, tornado safety, flooding safety and winter weather safety. At the end of the course each child is given a pillowcase and the opportunity to illustrate their own emergency kit needs.

TeamSmile is the nation’s premier oral health advocacy group. They partner with sports organizations across the nation to promote the message that oral health care is vitally important to long-term health.

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Wising you a safe and happy 2015!

With the new year quickly approaching, many people will reflect on the current year and how they can improve their lives in the coming one.

With that in mind, we’ve come up with some Red Cross Resolutions that will help you, your family and your community in 2015.

#1: Get a Kit

Whether you call it your disaster kit, a survival kit or a 72-hour kit – every household should have one. This kit should include everything your family would need to survive if you needed to shelter-in-place for at least 3 days.

For an in-depth look on how to build a kit for your home and auto, take a look at this blog post (home), this one for auto or visit www.redcross.org/prepare

#2: Make a Plan

Experts agree, an individual may have as few as 2 minutes to exit a burning building.

It is important to make sure that the entire family is prepared and informed in the event of a disaster or emergency. You may not always be together when these events take place and should have plans for making sure you are able to contact and find one another.

Here are some basic steps to make sure you remain safe:

  • With your your family or household members, discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play.
  • Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team.
  • If a family member is in the military, plan how you would respond if they were deployed.
  • Choose two places to meet:
    • Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire.
    • Outside your neighborhood (such as a relative or friend’s house in a different part of town), in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.
  • Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones.

For more information on how to make a plan for your home, visit www.redcross.org/prepare

#3: Volunteer

There are many ways to help your community with the Red Cross. You could volunteer to assist donors at a local blood drive, turn heartbreak into hope as a Disaster Action Team member, help connect emergency communications for military families or by giving your time and talents in any of the many volunteer positions available. To get started, visit www.redcross.org/volunteer

#4: Learn CPR

Would you know what to do in a cardiac, breathing or first aid emergency? The right answer could help you save a life. With an emphasis on hands-on learning, our First Aid/CPR/AED courses give you the skills to save a life.

To view local courses, visit www.redcross.org/takeaclass

#5: Give Blood

There’s no one reason to give blood. Maybe you or a family member received blood, or you think that one day you’ll be in need of it. Maybe your friend or colleague asked you to give blood. Maybe you think it’s the right thing to do. No matter the reason, your getting involved helps the Red Cross maintain a healthy and reliable blood supply.

To find a Blood Drive or donation location near you, visit www.redcross.org/blood

After you turn back the clock, check your smoke alarm batteries and emergency preparedness supplies

This weekend marks the end of Daylight Saving Time which means we will turn the clocks back one hour on Saturday night and receive an extra hour of sleep Sunday morning.

You can post this graphic to your Facebook page to help remind all of your friends and family to do the same.

You can post this graphic to your Facebook page to help remind all of your friends and family to do the same.

We recommends that you also use this as an opportunity to prepare for the winter season by checking you smoke alarm batteries and emergency preparedness supplies – a step that could save you time should an unexpected crisis arise.

Other preparedness steps you can take this weekend include:

 

  • Updating the emergency contact information in your family communications plan. Choose an out-of-area emergency contact that each person in your family can call if he/she becomes separated during a disaster situation.
  • Making sure your emergency preparedness kit still includes at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food items and water (one gallon per person per day), a flashlight, a battery-powered or crank radio, can opener, first aid kit, copies of important documents, and special items such as medications, diapers, and infant formula.
  • Checking your emergency preparedness kit for expired food items; refresh staples such as water, food and batteries. If there have been changes in prescriptions or dietary needs, add new foods and medications as needed.

 

Taking simple actions like these can help you be better prepared for emergencies. You can find more information on preparedness on redcross.org.

The Red Cross has free mobile apps that help people learn what to do before, during and after an emergency or disaster

Join the Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency in the second annual PrepareAthon on September 30

Join us for the second annual America’s PrepareAthon! national day of action.

The last few years have been an important reminder to all of us that disasters can strike anytime and anyplace. Nearly every region of the country experienced some form of extreme weather event, including devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma, scorching wildfires throughout California, and destructive flooding in Northeastern Ohio.

The destructive power of weather affects all communities. Learning how prepare for an emergency will help determine your course of action during a disaster.

The destructive power of weather affects all communities. Learning how prepare for an emergency will help determine your course of action during a disaster.

As with many life events, preparation is the key to success. When you prepare and practice for an emergency in advance of an event, it makes a real difference in your ability to take immediate and informed action when it matters most. Early action can also help you to recover more quickly.

That’s why thousands of individuals, organizations, schools, houses of worship, and local governments across the Nation are actively participating in a new national campaign for action – America’s PrepareAthon!

The Red Cross continues to support and promote this action-based initiative to build a more resilient Nation starting with the national day of action on September 30.

Can’t participate on September 30? Preparing for disasters is a year-round activity. So pick a date that works for you. You can still register to be counted in the movement. And be sure to post your preparedness activities on the national calendar.

It’s not a matter of if the next disaster will happen, but when. Take action and prepare now by completing simple steps such as making a plan and having an emergency kit. Start the conversation in your family today. It can help determine what you need to do next to become more prepared.

Be smart, take part, and prepare for emergencies before they strike!

Disaster preparedness for pets too!

When disaster strikes, all members of the family should be prepared with a disaster kit – including your pets.  Keep items in an accessible place and store them in sturdy containers so that they can be carried easily.

Pictured beside Zack and Zoe are leashes, water, food, Vet information, dog toys, a towel, dog treats, medical history, medicine, current picture of Z&Z and a water bowl.

Pictured beside Zack and Zoe are leashes, water, food, Vet information, dog toys, a towel, dog treats, medical history, medicine, current picture of Z&Z and a water bowl.

Your kit should include—

  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that they can’t escape.
  • Food, drinking water, bowls, cat litter/pan and a manual can opener.
  • Medications and copies of medical records stored in a waterproof container.
  • A first aid kit and download the Pet First Aid App
  • Current photos of you with your pet(s) in case they get lost. Since many pets look alike, this will help to eliminate mistaken identity and confusion.
  • Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
  • Pet beds and toy

Click here for a complete list of pet disaster preparedness items: http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m3640126_PetSafety.pdf

Pets will look to family members for comfort during all the changes that disasters bring.  Having a plan ahead of time will reduce stress and ensure you that you can care for your furry family members.