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Cold snap back: Red Cross offers safety tips


The American Red Cross is helping people affected by the frigid cold air covering two-thirds of the country, including communities in the Cascades Region as weather reports forecast freezing temperatures, strong east winds, sleet and light snow.

To stay safe during this dangerous weather, the American Red Cross recommends:

Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing body heat. Minimize travel; if travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle and keep your gas tank full. Check on elderly, those living alone, and people with mobility issues or special needs. Bring pets inside; move livestock to sheltered areas with access to water. Learn how to avoid, recognize and care for cold-related frostbite and hypothermia. Avoid frozen pipes; run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent pipes from freezing. Download the Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores.
Keep an emergency supply kit handy that includes food and water for a minimum of three days, a flashlight, battery-operated or hand-crank radio, first-aid kit, blanket or extra clothes, cell phone and chargers, sand or other abrasive material to keep walkways and steps from becoming slippery.

Home fire risk increases during cold weather

During extremely cold weather, the risk of home fire increases. To avoid fire danger:

Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.
Place space heaters on level, hard surface sand keep anything flammable (e.g., paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs) at least three feet away. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage; don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring.

Potential power outages and carbon monoxide risk

Severe weather has the potential to cause power outages and the use of alternate heating devices has the potential to generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide:

Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment including sensitive electronics.
Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
Eliminate unnecessary travel; traffic lights may be out and roads may be congested.
Do not touch any electrical power lines; keep your family away from them.
Report downed power lines to PGE or your local utility.
Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning; never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas o charcoal-burning device inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space or partially enclosed area.
Locate heating units 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 your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visitredcross.orgor visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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