Be Red Cross Ready
With temperatures in many areas of the state dropping lower than we’ve seen in the past five years, we want to be sure our Alaskan communities are prepared for the deep freeze expected over the next few days. Please consider the following cold weather tips:
What Should I do?
- Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, wear mittens and 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.
- Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service.
- Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
- Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
- Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
- If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
- Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.
- Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold.
- Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider your physical condition, the weather factors and the nature of the task.
- Help people who require special assistance such as elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
- Frostbite and hypothermia are two dangerous and potentially life-threatening emergencies. Learn how to care for these emergencies by taking a first aid class.
What Supplies Do I Need?
Even with the recent snow storms behind us, the current cold snap makes it difficult to travel and get to the store. A traffic accident that leaves you on the side of the road for even a short amount of time can quickly escalate to frostbite and hypothermia if you are not prepared for the elements. We recommend you stock a winter preparedness kit for your vehicle and for your home.
What’s in a Vehicle Winter Preparedness Kit:
- 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
- non-perishable snacks
What to have in your at-home preparedness kit:
At a minimum, you should have the basic supplies listed below:
- Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Manual can opener
- battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- Extra batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the area
Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:
- Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Games and activities for children
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
- Two-way radios
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
For more preparedness information from the American Red Cross of Alaska, visit http://www.redcross.org/local/alaska/preparedness. Stay safe and warm, friends!