Disaster Response Continues As Next Storm Looms

Tuesday, March 6

The impacts of last week’s Nor’easter continue to be felt across Eastern Pennsylvania even as another major winter is moving in. Heavy snow is expected region-wide on Wednesday, impacting travel and power restoration efforts.

Tens of thousands are still without power across Eastern Pennsylvania. The American Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania Region is in the midst of its largest response since Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The Red Cross has staffed or supported more than a dozen shelters in Eastern PA since Friday evening.

A couple of Red Cross shelters remain open, providing warm meals, a safe place to sleep and emotional support for those with immediate, disaster-caused needs. Hot showers and charging stations are also available. These shelters are expected to remain open through the upcoming winter storm. Current Red Cross shelters are located at:

Monroe County: Stroudsburg High School, 1100 W. Main St., Stroudsburg, PA

Pike County: Dingman Township V.F.D., 680 Log Tavern Rd., Milford, PA

Anyone coming to a Red Cross shelter should bring essential items for each member of the family:

  • Prescriptions and emergency medications
  • Foods that meet unusual dietary requirements
  • Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items
  • Supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys
  • Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled
  • Chargers for any electronic devices you bring with you
  • Books, games and other ways to entertain your family and yourself
  • Food, crate, and other supplies to care for your pet

In addition, the Red Cross is also supporting several partner-run shelters and daytime warming centers throughout the Poconos. For warming center locations near you, contact your municipality or county emergency management agency.

Power outages are expected to last for at least a few more days in some places. And with the next winter storm moving in, the Red Cross has some important safety tips to keep you and your family safe. The Red Cross encourages everyone to have at least a two-week supply of emergency supplies at home. A complete list can be found here:  http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/be-red-cross-ready/get-a-kit

DRIVING IN WINTER
While the Red Cross encourages you to stay off the road if possible, if you have to drive in snow, follow these tips about how to drive safely during a winter storm and what to do if you become stuck in your vehicle:

  • Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
  • Pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
  • 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.
  • Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.

If you become stuck in the snow or icy conditions:

  • Stay with the car. Do not try to walk to safety.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
  • Don’t run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don’t use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn’t conk out.
  • If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it – don’t abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.
  • Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up in the car.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running to help rescuers see the vehicle.
  • Keep one window slightly open – away from the blowing wind – to let in air.

POWER OUTAGE

  • Use flash lights in the dark, not candles. Candles can start fires.
  • If you are using a generator be sure you understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how touse generators safely. Never use a generator indoors or in a garage. It must be kept outside in a well-ventilated area.
  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
  • Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.

SPACE HEATERS

  • If using a space heater powered by a generator, place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface in the home.
  • Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before leaving home.

DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS

People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to weather alerts for the upcoming winter storm. The Emergency app can also be used to locate an official Red Cross shelter near you. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case you encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.

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