PLATTSBURGH — The American Red Cross of Northeastern New York offers North Country residents tips to ensure their safety the ice storm this weekend.
“North Country residents are certainly accustomed to inclement weather,” Lynn Gilbert, North County Chapter executive director, said in a news release. “The Red Cross has volunteers on standby, and they are ready to mobilize if necessary.”
The Red Cross recommends assembling a winter-specific emergency preparedness kit with a warm coat, hat, gloves, water-resistant boots, extra blankets and extra warm clothing. The kit should also include first-aid supplies and medications, as well as canned food, a can opener, bottled water, flashlights, a battery-powered radio and extra batteries that can be used if a power outage occurs.
The organization said in the release to bring pets inside, keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage and keep the thermostat at same temperature around the clock.
Here are some general storm tips from the Red Cross:
▶ Listen to a the National Weather Service’s weather radio station or local news channels for information on conditions.
▶ Move non-companion animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.
▶ Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
▶ All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside.
▶ 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.
▶ By not turning heat down at night, you can prevent a costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
▶ Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold.
▶ Avoid driving when conditions when there is sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
▶ Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider your physical condition, the weather factors and the nature of the task.
▶ Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors if possible.
▶ Check on those who may need special assistance like elderly people living alone, those with disabilities and children.
If an outage lasts for two hours or less, perishable food should keep, the Red Cross said.
For a longer period:
▶ Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Use perishable food from the refrigerator first. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about four hours.
▶ Food from the freezer can be used second. A full freezer will keep maintain its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
▶ Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer.
▶ If it looks like the power outage will last longer than one day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
▶ Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.
▶ Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
▶ Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves) and other equipment or electronics that were in use when the power went out. When the power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
▶ Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
▶ Do not travel unnecessarily, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.
▶ The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon-monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.
▶ 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. Place the unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
▶ Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of a 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 near an open window or door.
▶ Call for help from the fresh-air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive.
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