NEW JERSEY -- 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 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
  • 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.

WEATHER ALERTS AND FIRST AID TIPS 
People can download the free Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to winter storm tips and weather alerts for their area and where loved-ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the free First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.

The Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The organization trains and mobilizes more than 5,300 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. Last year, the Red Cross in New Jersey responded to more than 760 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping more than 1,800 displaced families; collected more than 89,100 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided more than 3,500 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained more than 116,100 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, visit redcross.org/NJ and Twitter @NJRedCross.