The American Red Cross and Unitil, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, strongly encourage residents to begin preparing for the possibility of blizzard-like conditions beginning late Monday night and throughout Tuesday.
Early preparation can help residents stay safe while managing the impact of this severe winter storm. Current forecasts are predicting up to two feet of dry snow, combined with strong wind gusts. Coastal flooding is also a concern during the storm’s peak hours.
“Early preparation is the best way to keep your families and loved ones safe,” said Unitil Media Relations Manager, Alec O’Meara. “Together with the Red Cross, we encourage local residents to replenish their emergency supplies, listen closely to local officials for storm updates and to avoid traveling if at all possible during the peak hours of the storm.”
“The American Red Cross is currently working with our volunteers and state partners in preparations for the storm,” said, Red Cross CEO, Maria Devlin. “With the chance of power outages likely, we ask that residents plan ahead and be sure to check in on neighbors throughout the storm.”
The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for winter storms by:
Assembling Emergency Preparedness Kits: Pack winter-specific supply kits for both home and your vehicle that include a flashlight, first aid supplies, warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and water-resistant boots, along with blankets and extra warm clothing. Sand or non-clumping kitty litter is good to have on hand in case your car is stuck and to help make walkways or steps less slippery. Additionally, your home kit should have essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries in the event of a power outage.
Preparing Your Home and Car: Winterize your vehicle and keep the gas tank full, which helps prevent 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. Running water, even at a trickle, helps to prevent pipes from freezing.
Heavy snow and icicles can have an impact on home meters, especially natural gas meters and vents. Keeping vents and meters clear will allow for proper ventilation and can prevent carbon monoxide buildup within your home. As snow accumulates, Unitil advises customers to take the following steps:
- Remove snow and ice carefully from a meter or outdoor appliance vent carefully with a broom. Do not use a shovel as it can damage the meter.
- Avoid shoveling or plowing snow up against or covering the meter or pipe.
- Remove icicles from overhead eaves and gutters to assure dripping water does not freeze the meter or vent pipe. Contact a qualified roofing vendor if you cannot reach icicles yourself.
- Do not kick your gas meter in an attempt to break ice off, as this too can cause damage.
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/ or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.