Severe Weather Tips from the American Red Cross

February 19, 2019 - 1:10 pm

With the possibility of more snow and frigid temperatures on the way later this week, the Red Cross has some tips for getting prepared for when severe weather hits.


It’s the time of year when many people resort to space heaters and other sources to keep their homes warm. Home heating is the second leading cause of fires in this country. To reduce the risk of heating related fires, the Red Cross recommends these steps (More home fire safety information available here):

All heaters need space. Keep children, pets, and anything that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.

If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard, and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets - never into an extension cord.

Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.  

Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.

Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.


Bundle up! Wear layers of clothing, including a hat, gloves, and waterproof, insulated boots.

Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities, and children.

Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water. Check out our Pet Disaster Preparedness tips.


Stay off the road if possible during severe weather. If you must drive in winter weather, follow these tips:

Make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road.

Don’t follow other vehicles too closely; sudden stops are more difficult on snowy roadways.

Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.

Carry an emergency kit in your car containing a first aid kit, duct tape, emergency blanket, flashlight, food, and extra batteries.

Be especially careful driving over ramps, bridges, and overpasses since they freeze before roadways.


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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.