American Red Cross offers winter storm safety tips

Winter storms can range from moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard that lasts for a few days. Regardless of the severity of a winter storm, the American Red Cross wants people in West Michigan to be prepared and to remain safe during these events.

“Many winter storms bring low temperatures, strong winds, sleet and freezing rain,” said Tim Lipan, Executive Director, American Red Cross. “Make sure you have emergency supplies for your entire household in case you end up having to remain in your home for a few days.”

Before the Storm

People should know the difference between a winter storm watch and a warning. A watch is issued when winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. During a warning, severe weather conditions have already begun or will begin within 24 hours and people should immediately take precautions.

The Red Cross recommends having the following items on hand in a convenient spot:

● At least a 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and non-perishable food

● A flashlight, battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and extra batteries

●  A well-stocked first aid kit

● A 7-day supply of medications and medical items

● Supplies for babies and pets

People can learn what to do in an emergency in case advanced medical help is delayed by taking a First Aid and CPR/AED course and by downloading the free American Red Cross First Aid App.

When a Storm is Coming

● Listen and watch for critical information from the National Weather Service.

● Bring pets inside. Move other animals and livestock to sheltered areas.

●  Stay inside. If people must go out, wear warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in layers.

●  Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep emergency supplies in vehicles.

Lipan reminds everyone: “Check in on your neighbors – especially those requiring special assistance and those living alone.”

Additional information on what supplies to have and what to do before, during and after a winter storm is located at