As winter weather returns the Nebraska – Southwest Iowa Region of the American Red Cross is urging residents to take steps now to stay safe. Tina Lebellarte is the Region CEO and says those who have to travel should reconsider their options. If travel is unavoidable she recommends having a well stocked emergency preparedness kit with you. It should include a cell phone and charger, a shovel, jumper cables, bags of sand or kitty litter and a tool kit. She also recommends having plenty of batteries for flashlights or having a hand-cranked device. The same goes for a radio. Lebellarte also suggests packing dry clothing, extra hats, coats, mittens or gloves and dry boots. Bottled water, hard candy and non-perishable foods should also be kept inside the vehicle. First aid kits should also be kept in a vehicle and inside each home.
The American Red Cross also recommends making sure you have plenty of food at home during severe winter weather. They suggest non-perishable food that doesn’t require electricity to cook. Make sure you have a non-electric can opener. Lebellarte says if you are making a trip to the store don’t forget to stock up on extra pet food and supplies.
During disasters that include floods, tornados and fires, the American Red Cross provides assistance by putting up shelters for victims to stay. Lebellarte says during snow storms it is much too dangerous for their volunteers to be out and about but they do survey motel operators to get reports of vacancies.