With bitter cold approaching, Red Cross gives 15 ways to safely stay warm

Pedestrians cross the street in downtown Boston, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

With a major winter storm predicted to hit the Mohawk Valley, and the entire northeast this weekend -- the Red Cross wants to make sure you are heating your home safely.

Posted: Jan 17, 2019 5:27 PM
Updated: Jan 17, 2019 5:44 PM

With a major winter storm predicted to hit the Mohawk Valley, and the entire northeast this weekend -- the Red Cross wants to make sure you are heating your home safely. 

“A winter storm is headed our way, and our first priority is making sure that residents across our region stay safe,”  Kimmy Venter,  the spokesperson for the American Red Cross Eastern New York Region said in a statement. “Whether you're trying to keep your home warm or dealing with the elements outside, put safety first and follow these tips at all times.”

Space heaters run the risk of a fire hazard, and home heating is the second leading cause of fires in the United States.  To reduce your risks, the Red Cross says to follow these steps: 

  1. 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.
  2. If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets, or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets - never into an extension cord.
  3. Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
  4. Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  5. Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.

For more information on heating safety, head to their website. 

Tips on staying safe during the winter weather:

  1. Wear layers of clothing, a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots.
  2. Be careful when tackling strenuous tasks like shoveling snow in cold temperatures.
  3. Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
  4. Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have access to unfrozen water and enough shelter to keep them warm.
  5. Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Frostbite symptoms include numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy feeling skin.

Winter travel safety tips: 

  1. Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road.
  2. Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways.
  3. Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
  4. Don’t pass snow plows.
  5. Remember that ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways and take extra caution.

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