Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Atlanta Red Cross Urges Winter Weather Preparedness

At the end of 1935 Atlanta was paralyzed by an ice storm. The city had two days of sleet, snow, freezing rain and sub-zero temperatures. (Courtesy of Flickr)

As winter’s grip tightens and temperatures drop, the American Red Cross is encouraging families and individuals to take the following steps now, to prepare for hazardous winter weather such as snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. The American Red Cross recommends everyone prepare for winter weather by following these steps:   

Get a Disaster Supplies Kit For Your Home:

  • Three-day supply of water (one gallon of water per person pre day for drinking and hygiene.)
  • Three-day supply of non perishable items, high-energy food and manual can opener.
  • First aid kit and essential medications
  • Battery powered or hand-cranked radio.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Extra warm clothing, including boots, mittens, and hats.
  • Copies of important documents (birth certificate, tile/deed to home, insurance policies, etc) in a water proof container. 

 Get a Disaster Supplies Kit for Your Vehicle (all the above, plus):

  •  Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Fire extinguisher (A-B-C type)
  • Compass and road maps.
  • Shovel.
  • Tire repair kit and pump.
  • Flares.
  • Extra Clothing to keep dry.
  • Sack of sand or cat litter (for tire traction).
  • Tow rope.

 Make a Winter Storm Plan:

  • Have extra blankets on hand.
  • Have additional food and water stored to last seven to fourteen days.
  • Ensure that every member of your household has a warm coat, gloves or mittens, a hat, and water proof boots.
  • Assemble a disaster supplies kit for your home and vehicle.
  • Have your vehicle winterized before weather gets severe.
  • Decide how you would communicate with your family members should you be separated and unable to travel when a winter storm hits.

 Be Informed:

  • Listen to local weather officials to learn how winter weather might affect your neighborhood.
  • Know the difference between a winter storm WATCH (a winter storm is possible in your area) and a winter storm WARNING (a winter storm is headed to your area).
  • Consider getting First Aid and CPR training in case you need to respond in an emergency.

 If the Power Goes Out:

  • Do not use candles for light when the power goes out. Use Flashlights only.
  • Use items in the refrigerator first, then freezer, then non-perishable foods.
  • Use generators correctly. Never operate indoors; do not hook up a generator directly to your home’s wiring.  Always read directions that come with generator before using.

Hazardous Winter Travel: The American Red Cross strongly urges everyone to monitor weather reports and follow the directions of local authorities. If travel is absolutely necessary during potentially dangerous winter weather, inform someone of your travel route, destination and expected arrival time. Store a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle and remember to keep the gas tank near full to avoid ice building up in the gas tank and fuel lines.

 In Case of Snow or Black Ice:

  • Stay with your vehicle. Do not try to walk to safety as you will risk developing hypothermia and/or frostbite.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
  • Start the vehicle and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear, so fumes won’t back up in the vehicle.
  • As you sit, move your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to help you stay warm.
  • Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.
  • Leave the overhead light on inside the vehicle when the engine is running so you can be seen.
  • After the snow has stopped falling, raise the hood to indicate you need help.

For more information on winter weather preparedness, please contact the Metro Atlanta Red Cross at  (404)876-3302 or


Make Your Cellphone a Lifeline During Disasters

If disaster forces you to evacuate your home or community, the most important thing, next to your safe exit, is to communicate with your friends/family that you are ok.  Our cell phones have become a lifeline and for some, our only means of communication.  So when you are in an area that is preparing for a Hurricane or severe weather evacuation, please be sure to consider the following: 


1.)    Our gadgets don’t like water – it can damage the internal components.  To protect your cell phone and other electronic devices, place them in everyday household zip lock bags and make sure they are sealed for protection.

2.)    Make sure your cell phone is fully charged prior to an evacuation.  Also, when you are leaving your house, don’t forget to bring your cell phone charger with you.  You’ll need it when you get to your destination.

3.)    Change your voicemail greeting to let people know of your status and where you are headed – perhaps give an alternate phone number for a friend or inform of your plan to find a Red Cross shelter.  Should someone try to call you, they will know your plan – even if your phone goes dead. 

The Evacuation.

1.)    Learn how to use text messaging.  In times of mass evacuations, everyone is trying to communicate and the network can get overloaded, resulting in a “fast busy” tone when you try to make a call.  In those times, send a text message – it will get through to another mobile device, as long as there is signal strength on your phone at the time you send the message.

2.)    As you are leaving the area, sometimes it can be good to download a few applications to your cell phone to help give you additional information to make smart evacuation decisions.  Applications that display weather radar and navigation of roads where you may be less familiar can be extremely helpful.

3.)    If your phone has an internet browser and you have arrived at a Red Cross shelter, go to and click on the “Safe & Well” link to register that you have safely arrived at a Shelter.  Tell your friends to check the website to get your updated status.

Jen O’Connell, a Red Cross volunteer and  wireless expert of over 12 years, has worked for companies such as Cingular Wireless (AT&T), Verizon Wireless, GTE Wireless and Powertel (T-Mobile). She is the person that the Wireless Industry, Wall Street and Media depend on to translate advances in wireless technology into simple, easily understandable concepts that are informative, entertaining and applicable for all.

Twelve Days of Holiday Safety from the Metro Atlanta Red Cross


Happy Holidays! by zizzybaloobah.

Twelve Days of Holiday Safety from the Metro Atlanta Red Cross

In the spirit of the season, the American Red Cross offers 12 holiday safety tips 

With last-minute gifts to buy, social events to attend and family and friends to visit while the weather outside is frightful, the American Red Cross has 12 days of health and safety tips to make the holiday season safe, happy and bright.  

1.      Prepare your vehicle for traveling to grandmother’s house. Make an emergency kit and include items such as blankets or sleeping bags, jumper cables, fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type), compass and road maps, shovel, tire repair kit and pump, extra clothing, flares, tow rope.  

2.      Drive your sleigh and reindeer safely. Avoid driving in a storm, but if you must, keep your gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing. Let someone know your destination, route and when you expect to arrive.  

3.      Help prevent the spread of the flu. Wash hands with soap and water as often as possible, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Use sanitizing wipes to disinfect hard surfaces such as airplane tray tables, luggage handles, cell phones, door handles and seat armrests. 

4.      Prevent hypothermia by following Santa’s lead. Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, which will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears. Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. 

5.      Use a Red Cross-trained babysitter when attending holiday festivities. Red Cross-certified babysitters learn to administer basic first aid; properly hold and feed a child; take emergency action when needed; monitor safe play and actively engage your child; and some may be certified in Infant and Child CPR.  

6.      Avoid danger while roasting chestnuts over an open fire. Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking and be alert. Keep anything flammable—such as potholders, towels or curtains—away from your stove top. Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are prepared or carried. 

7.      Be a lifesaver during the holidays and always. The Red Cross recommends at least one person in every household should be trained and certified in first aid and CPR/AED. Your local Red Cross chapter has conveniently scheduled courses and can have you trained and certified in a few hours. 

 8.      Designate a driver or skip the holiday cheer. When you designate a driver who won’t be drinking, you help make sure a good party doesn’t turn into a tragedy. A good host ensures there are non-alcoholic beverages available for drivers. The designated driver should not drink any alcoholic beverages, not even one.  

9.       When the weather outside is frightful, heat your home safely. Never use your stove or oven to heat your home. Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month. 

10.   Cut down on your heating bills without being a Grinch. Get your furnace cleaned by a professional; change the filters regularly. Make sure heat vents aren’t blocked by furniture. Close off any rooms you aren’t using and close heat vents or turn off radiators in those rooms. Use either insulating tape or caulking strips to surround your windows and door moldings. Put up storm windows or storm doors to keep the cold out.  

11.   Don’t move a muscle, until they buckle. Each person in your vehicle should have their seatbelts securely fastened before driving off. Ensure children are buckled up and their car seats are installed appropriately based on their age and size. Children 12 and under should always sit in the backseat. 

12.   Resolve to Be Red Cross Ready in the New Year. You can take one or more actions to prepare now, should you or your family face an emergency in 2010.

Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.
Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday from the Atlanta Red Cross. 

Visit  to learn more about the Metro Atlanta Red Cross and the services they provide to our community.