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Science and the Environment

A Few Tips on Winter Preparedness Could Save Your Life, Say Experts

Red Cross

Preparing your home and car can be the difference between life and death, according to the Red Cross. This is why the organization is urging families to have a plan before the severe weather hits.

Assembling an emergency preparedness kit is not hard. You should pack a bag with items like an extra coat, hat, mittens and water resistant boots. Sand or non-clumping kitty litter is always good to have on hand to make walkways less slippery, or in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow.

The Red Cross strongly recommends having a first aid kit, with medications and an extra blanket. Also, keep a flashlight and extra batteries in your vehicle and your home, along with nonperishable food, and water.

Having this personal kit with all the necessary items could be especially important if you are on the road tonight. Doug Cramer, a meterologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield, says travel will be affected by this storm.

“There will likely be some impact on the roads with a little bit of ice as well. So certainly the bigger impact will be on the roads and the travel across southwest Missouri,” said Cramer.

Another tip is to keep the gas tank full; that will help to keep the fuel line from freezing. As for your home, make sure it's properly insulated and the chimneys have been cleaned and inspected.

For KSMU News, I’m Shannon Bowers.

Be Red Cross Ready: Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.


The Red Cross is here to make sure you are as prepared as you possibly can be for potential disasters and other emergencies. These events can strike suddenly, at any time and anywhere. There are three actions everyone can take that can help make a difference.

 All information below is provided by the American Red Cross

At a minimum, you should have the basic supplies listed:

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit – Anatomy of a First Aid Kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • 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
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area

Suggested Items:

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener


  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags


Be Red Cross Ready Checklist

  • I know what emergencies or disasters are most likely to occur in my community.
  • I have a family disaster plan and have practiced it.
  • I have an emergency preparedness kit.
  • At least one member of my household is trained in first aid and CPR/AED.
  • I have taken action to help my community prepare