Happy New Year! 2016 started out with a not so gentle reminder to be ready for what Mother Nature can send our way. From tornadoes to flooding across the state, Red Cross staff and volunteers from the Southeast Tennessee chapter have stepped up to be there for our friends and neighbors in need.
If you haven’t made your New Year’s resolution to be prepared in 2016, it is not too late. While we have yet to experience any snow or ice, there is no better time to think about winter storm preparedness before it happens. At the American Red Cross we want your family to be prepared, so here are some quick tips to get you started:
• Assemble an Emergency Preparedness Kit to include winter-specific supplies for both home and vehicle that include a flashlight, first aid supplies, warm outerwear, water resistant boots, a blanket and extra warm clothing. Sand or non-clumping kitty litter is good to have on hand in case your car is stuck or to help make walkways less slippery. Additionally, your home kit should have essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, and a battery powered radio with extra batteries in case of a power outage.
• Heed Storm Warnings: A winter storm WATCH means 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 via NOAA weather radio or local radio or television stations. A winter storm WARNING means that life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. Individuals in a warning area should take precautions immediately.
• Preparing Your Home and Car: If you heat with natural gas, be sure to identify the location of your meter and vents. It's important to keep them clear during storms and to ensure they are not damaged. Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full, which helps prevent the fuel line from freezing. Make sure your home is properly insulated by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to help keep cold air out. Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year. Running water, even at a trickle, helps to prevent pipes from freezing.
Winter weather has a way of sneaking up on us, so now is a good time to take steps to reduce any weather-related issues. To learn more about how to prepare you family visit www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm.