Rhode Island has not seen a major snow event this winter, but that may change by Friday, when a storm is forecast to hit the region. While forecasts may change, there is potential for snow above six inches and wind gusts above 35 miles per hour. “Preparing early for this storm will help you be ready and avoid last-minute rushing,” said American Red Cross spokesperson Paul Shipman.
The Red Cross offers tips and information aimed at helping people to prepare for and weather the storm, Shipman said. “We want people to be safe and to know how to cope with emergencies.”
“We can help you create a disaster preparedness plan now, as we watch the forecasts for this potential storm.”
The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for winter storms by:
• Assembling 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 kitty 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.
• Heeding Storm Warnings: A Winter Storm WATCH means winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions via NOAA Weather radio, or local radio or television stations. A Winter Storm WARNING means that life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. Individuals in a warning area should take precautions immediately. Stay tuned to local media to keep up with forecasts.
• Preparing Your Home and Car: Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full, which will help to keep the fuel line from freezing. Make sure your home is properly insulated by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to help keep cold air out. Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year. If you lose power and heat, running water at a trickle from a faucet helps to prevent pipes from freezing.
• Use Technology to Prepare and Stay Safe: Download Red Cross preparedness apps for your smartphone. Our free apps have tips and real-time information to help you prepare, as well as tools to help you keep in touch during and after a major storm. Get the apps for iPhones or Android phones at www.redcross.org/mobileapps. “Our Hurricane app has useful information for any kind of storm, including the ability to set your location and get fast notification of weather alerts. The preparedness tips there are helpful for any weather situation,” Shipman said.