PRINCETON, NJ — As winter approaches, the American Red Cross encourages people to ready themselves for the colder weather and winter storms.

“The time to prepare for inclement weather is before it threatens our area,” said Ana Montero, regional CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “We encourage everyone in New Jersey to take steps to prepare for any winter weather that may come our way.” 

GET VEHICLES READY FOR WINTER Have a mechanic check the tires, battery, brakes and antifreeze levels. Make sure vehicles are ready for winter with a window scraper, shovel, kitty litter or sand in case wheels get stuck, and a disaster supplies kit in the trunk. Suggested supplies include high-protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, phone charger, small battery-operated radio, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, blankets and extra clothes including socks, hats and gloves.

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CHECK YOUR EMERGENCY KIT Don’t wait for a winter storm. Now is a good time for people to check the contents of the emergency kit in their home should a storm require them to shelter in place. Restock missing items and replace items that may have expired. The emergency kit should include:

·Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day

·Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food

·Flashlight

·Battery-powered or hand-crank radio

·Extra batteries

·First aid kit 

·Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)

·Multi-purpose tool

·Sanitation and personal hygiene items

·Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)

·Cell phone with chargers

·Family and emergency contact information

·Extra cash

·Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)

·Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)

·Tools/supplies for securing the home

·Sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery

·Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and extra blankets and warm clothing for all household members

HEAT SAFETY TIPS The Red Cross urges everyone to follow these safety steps when using alternate heat sources:

·Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.

·Space heaters should sit on a level, hard surface and anything flammable should be kept at least three feet away.

· If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

·Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home.

·Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.