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    American Red Cross tips for Ark. winter storms

    6:02 AM, Feb 21, 2013   |    comments
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    Tom Brannon (@TBBrannon)
    Ed Buckner (@ed_buckner)
    Sarah Fortner (@SarahFortnerWx)

    From the American Red Cross:

    FEBRUARY 20, 2013-LITTLE ROCK - With winter and ice storm warnings extended in time, and across more counties by the National Weather Service this afternoon, the American Red Cross reminds Arkansans to continue to take action in the event of worsening conditions.

    "Our Disaster Responders remain on alert in the event emergency shelters are needed over the next day or two," stated American Red Cross in Arkansas Disaster Director, Roger Elliot.

    "As roads become increasingly hazardous, and we have more concern for power outages in areas under ice storm warnings, doing as much as you can now to buffer the effects of our winter storms will serve individuals well," stated Elliot.

    A few helpful tips include:

    • Stay tuned to a NOAA Weather Radio or your local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
    • Sign up to receive alerts from your favorite station to your cell phone. Remember to keep your cell phone fully charged. Have a car charger ready, in case power is loss and you need to charge from the car.
    • Fill your car gas tank up. Whether it's use to charge your phone, or you become delayed by traffic, this is an important act. It also keeps your gas line from freezing.
    • Your American Red Cross apps (Hurricane, Earthquake, Wildfire or First Aid) include useful tools, such as flashlight, strobe, emergency siren and an "I'm safe button" to send to loved ones by social media, email or text.

    Safety steps at home include:

    • Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure that their access to food and water is not interfered with by 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 and kept clear.
    • Do not use fire places if they have not been recently inspected.
    • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from furniture, beds, curtains and rugs.
    • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold.

    When outside in the weather:

    • Avoid driving when conditions include 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.

    "This is a time for us all to be extra good neighbors," stated Elliot. "Check on people who require special assistance such as elderly people living alone and persons with disabilities."

    Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills

    • 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.

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