Red Cross Ready as Northeast Braces for Blizzard

As potentially record-breaking snow and blizzard conditions barrel toward the northeast, the American Red Cross is urging everyone in the region to get prepared, listen to local authorities and stay at home during the storm.

The storm will not only bring heavy snow—upward of 2 feet in some places—but also potential coastal flooding and hurricane-force winds. This combination will make travel extremely hazardous beginning Friday and continuing all day Saturday. Avoid all travel during this time period.

If you absolutely must be on the road, make sure your gas tank has been filled ahead of time, have an emergency preparedness kit in the car, and let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive.

Red Cross chapters in the region are ready to respond if needed, and are making sure volunteers, shelters and supplies are ready to go as weather conditions permit. They are also coordinating with local government agencies as well as ham radio operators in case additional emergency communication services are needed during the storm.

The storm will impact Red Cross Sandy relief work in New York—meals are being delivered earlier today than usual, and mobile food delivery throughout the weekend will depend on weather and road conditions. Yesterday the Red Cross distributed nearly 3,000 relief items in New York ahead of the storm to help people prepare.

The Red Cross will monitor conditions during the storm, and in the case of an event such as widespread, lasting power outages, will work with local authorities and partners to shelter affected residents. Authorities in Long Island have already requested that the Red Cross have a shelter on standby.

If you haven’t already done so, make sure you have the emergency supplies you need at home, including a battery-operated radio, flashlights and any medications or special items you need.

Use the Red Cross Winter Storm Safety Checklist and the Power Outage Checklist so you’re ready for whatever the blizzard brings, and keep informed by watching The Weather Channel or by visiting weather.com.

As of noon on Friday, this storm had already forced the cancellation of 50 Red Cross blood drives, resulting in a shortfall of nearly 2,200 units of blood and platelets. Additional blood drives and platelet donations will likely be cancelled throughout the weekend.

While the winter storm continues to affect blood donation opportunities, hospital patients still need blood and platelets despite the conditions. The Red Cross is encouraging blood and platelet donations in areas unaffected by this storm—while all types are needed, the Red Cross urges those with blood types O positive, O negative and B negative to make a lifesaving appointment online atredcrossblood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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