As forecasters predict heavy snow for Wednesday, the American Red Cross continues to urge Puget Sound residents to remain vigilant about winter weather. Excessive snow and icy conditions can trap people inside their homes or vehicles or cause power outages. The Red Cross offers these tips to stay safe:
- Keep at least a three-day supply of water and nonperishable food on hand.
- 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.
- Don’t forget family pets – bring them indoors. If that’s not possible, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they can get to unfrozen water.
- Avoid using a stove or oven to heat the home. Keep a glass or metal fire screen around the fireplace and never leave a fireplace fire unattended.
- If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface. Turn the space heater off when leaving the room or going to sleep. Keep children and pets away from the space heater and do not use it to dry wet clothing.
- Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including the basement or garage. Do not hook up a generator directly to the home's wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment needed directly to the outlets on the generator.
On the road:
- Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, check road conditions and snow routes ahead of time.
- Carry an emergency preparedness kit in the trunk and include blankets and extra clothing for warmth.
- Keep the car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
- If someone does get stuck, stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety.
- Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won't back up in the car.
- Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle.
- Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.
Out in the cold:
- Dressing in several layers of lightweight clothing keeps someone warmer than a single heavy coat.
- Mittens provide more warmth to the hands than gloves. Wear a hat, preferably one that covers the ears.
- Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep feet warm and dry and to maintain one’s footing in ice and snow.