BATON ROUGE — Winter weather poses unique challenges to people faced with bitter cold, snow and ice. The American Red Cross has steps you should take to stay safe if you are in the path of winter storms.
“Cold weather is here to stay, especially during the overnight hours,” said Stephanie Wagner, regional director of communications for the American Red Cross of Louisiana. “Whether trying to keep your home warm or having to be outside in the coldest hours, you can follow these steps to keep your home and family safe.”
HEAT YOUR HOME SAFELY
It’s that time of year when many people resort to space heaters and other sources to keep their homes warm. Home heating is the second leading cause of fires in this country. To reduce the risk of heating related fires, the Red Cross recommends these steps (More home fire safety information available here):
All heaters need space. Keep children, pets and things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets - never into an extension cord.
Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
STAY SAFE DURING WINTER WEATHER
Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
Ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways.
DOWNLOAD APPS People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to weather alerts for their area and where loved ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at www.redcross.org/apps