Connecticut is expecting some potential substantial winter weather Friday night into Saturday, with parts of the state expected to see significant heavy snow, strong winds and some possible coastal flooding. The American Red Cross wants to remind everyone to prepare in anticipation of the upcoming storm.

Below are some tips on preparing for a winter storm. We ask folks to keep this information handy to be prepared throughout the winter season. 

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO 

  • Assemble an emergency preparedness kit: Pack a winter-specific supply kit that includes a warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and water-resistant boots, along with extra blankets and extra warm clothing for each family member. Sand or non-clumping cat litter is good to have on hand to help make walkways or steps less slippery. Additionally, make sure you have a first aid kit and a supply of essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries in your home in the event of a power outage. 
  • Protect pipes from freezing. 
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide an extra layer of insulation to keep cold air out. 
  • Make sure you have enough heating fuel on hand. Conserve fuel. Winter storms can last for several days, placing great demand on electric, gas, and other fuel distribution systems (fuel oil, propane, etc.). 
  • Stay indoors and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater. If you feel too warm, remove layers to avoid sweating; if you feel chilled, add layers. 
  • Check on relatives, neighbors and friends, particularly if they are elderly or if they live alone. 

STAY SAFE OUTSIDE 

If you must go outside, protect yourself from winter storm hazards: 

  • Wear layered clothing, mittens or gloves, and a hat. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens or gloves and a hat will prevent the loss of body heat. 
  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from severely cold air. Avoid taking deep breaths; minimize talking. 
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite. 
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly away from the body. 
  • Stretch before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This will reduce your chances of muscle injury. 
  • Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a vehicle, or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia. 
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Slips and falls occur frequently in winter weather, resulting in painful and sometimes disabling injuries. 
  • If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation if possible. About 70 percent of winter deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles. 

WINTER DRIVING SAFETY 

Stay off the road if possible during severe weather. If you must drive in winter weather, follow these tips: 

  • Keep in your vehicle: 
  • A windshield scraper and small broom. A small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats. Matches in a waterproof container. A brightly colored (preferably red) cloth to tie to the antenna. 
  • An emergency supply kit, including warm clothing. 
  • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to keep the fuel line from freezing. 
  • Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. 
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on snowy roadways. 
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather. 
  • Don’t pass snow plows. 
  • Ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways. 
  • If you become stranded: 
  • Stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards (91 meters). You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow. 
  • Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling. 
  • Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation. 
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen. 

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 redcross.org/apps

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 visit redcross.org/ri, or visit us on Twitter at @CTRedCross. 

Stephen Krauchick

By Stephen Krauchick

DoingItLocal is run by Steve Krauchick. Steve has always had interest with breaking news even as an early teen, opting to listen to the Watergate hearings instead of top 40 on the radio. His interest in news spread to become the communities breaking news leader in Connecticut’s Fairfield County. He strongly believes that the public has right to know what is happening in their backyard and that government needs to be transparent. Steve also likes promoting local businesses.

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