Stay Safe During Extreme Cold Weather: 21 Winter Safety Tips From the American Red Cross by 30Seconds Health

4 months ago

Stay Safe During Extreme Cold Weather: 21 Winter Safety Tips From the American Red Cross

The weather is turning dangerously cold as temperatures will continue to drop. Here are a few tips from the American Red Cross to help keep you and your loved ones safe:

Fire Safety

As the weather gets colder, the American Red Cross sees an increase in home fires. A fire can take a home in as little as two minutes. Therefore, escaping in less than two minutes can be the difference between survival and tragedy. The Red Cross encourages everyone to talk to their children about fire safety to help families stay safe. They want to ensure families and children are prepared.

  • To help protect your family year-round, test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can escape in less than two minutes.
  • For free home fire safety resources, including an escape plan, visit or download the free Red Cross Emergency App. In addition, the free Monster Guard app teaches children how to prepare for emergencies by playing an engaging game. Download the apps by searching “American Red Cross” in app stores or going to

If you need assistance after a home fire or disaster, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747.

Out in the Cold

  • Be aware of the wind chill. Avoid staying in the cold too long.
  • Wear layers of winter clothing to stay warm, along with a hat, mittens and waterproof, insulated boots to keep feet warm and dry. Avoid unnecessary exposure of any part of the body to the cold.
  • Be careful when tackling strenuous tasks like shoveling snow in cold temperatures. Take frequent breaks from the cold.
  • Drink plenty of warm fluids or warm water but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Get out of the cold immediately if the signs of hypothermia and frostbite appear.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.

At Home

  • Bring family pets indoors. If that’s not possible, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they can get to unfrozen water.
  • Prevent frozen pipes. Open cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around water pipes. Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.
  • Do not use a stove or oven to heat the home. Keep a glass or metal fire screen around the fireplace and never leave a fireplace fire unattended.
  • If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface. Don’t place it on rugs and carpets, or near bedding and drapes. Keep children and pets away from the space heater and do not use it to dry wet clothing. Plug space heater power cords directly into outlets – never into an extension cord. Turn the space heater off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • If the power goes out, use generators correctly. Never operate a generator inside the home, including the basement or garage. Do not hook up a generator directly to the home's wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment needed directly to the outlets on the generator.

On the Road

  • Stay off the road during sever weather, if possible.
  • Carry an emergency preparedness kit in the trunk.
  • Keep the car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • 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 difficult on snowy roadways.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
  • Don’t pass snowplows.
  • Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways.

Note: The content on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

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Elisa Schmitz
It's supposed to be 5 or 10 degrees here in the Chicago area this weekend, so these tips are very timely, thank you!
Julie Rose
Donna John
It's getting in single digits on Monday and Tuesday in Texas. Started freezing yesterday. We're not equipped down here for this weather! Brrrrr!!! Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
Elisa Schmitz
I can't believe how cold it has gotten, especially in your neck of the woods, Donna John . It's been in single digits in the Chi for a long time. But to see that happen in Texas is just not OK. Stay safe and cozy, amiga!

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