When a winter storm is on the way your first inclination might be to get to the store and load up on the comfort foods that are going to get you through the next several days.
With the clock ticking, if you can only do a few things to get ready, we recommend you do these (the rest, like knitting a new scarf ASAP, can wait):
1. Listen to local news and information. Tune into a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
2. Stock up on non-perishable food and water. Yes, we’re giving you license to clean out the bread and milk at your local supermarket. But there is some other stuff you need. Assume each person will need one gallon of water per day. It’s best to have a two-week supply but keep a three-day supply at a minimum. Prepare a cooler with ice for freezer items. Keep other perishables covered in a cool, dry place.
3. Prepare a disaster kit. Include in it a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, medications (seven-day supply) and required medical items, multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items, copies of personal documents, cell phone with chargers, extra cash, emergency contact information, a non-cordless telephone, a multi-purpose tool, and a full gas tank. Kits are available at www.redcrossstore.org.
4. Minimize travel during storms. When local authorities tell you to stay off the roads, listen to them. Don’t be a cowboy (or girl). If you must travel, keep a disaster supply kit in your vehicle. The kit should contain bottled water, high-protein snacks, a flashlight, a First Aid kit, a shovel for digging a car out of snow, a cigarette lighter, blankets and cold-weather clothing.
5. Download the American Red Cross First Aid App. It gives you quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. This free app is available on Apple iTunes or Google Play stores. See all Red Cross apps at www.redcross.org/mobileapps.
For more information on how to stay safe this winter, visit the winter storm safety information center at www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm. See more at: redcrosschat.org.