In addition to heavy snowfall, this weekend’s monstrous winter storm brought coastal flooding to parts of southern New Jersey. There are steps families returning home following the storm can take to keep them safer while inspecting and cleaning up the damage to their homes. Before traveling, ensure local officials have declared that it’s safe to enter your community.
When returning home:
- Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage.
- If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
- If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
- Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
- Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risk.
- During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
- Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Contact your local or state public health department to see if your water supply might be contaminated. You may need to boil or treat it before use. Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula.
For more information, download the Red Cross Returning Home After Hurricane or Flood Checklist or visit redcross.org.
The American Red Cross, in cooperation with its government partners, has opened the following shelters to assist those affected by coastal flooding during the winter storm:
Pennsylvania Avenue School (CLOSED)
201 North Pennsylvania Avenue
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Russell O. Brackman Middle School (CLOSED)
600 Barnegat Boulevard North
Barnegat, NJ 08005
Woodbine Developmental Center (CLOSED)
1175 DeHirsh Avenue
Woodbine, NJ 08270
Anyone evacuating to a Red Cross shelter should bring essential items for each member of the family:
- Prescriptions and emergency medications.
- Foods that meet unusual dietary requirements.
- Identification to show residence is in affected area and important personal documents.
- Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items.
- Supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys.
- Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled.
- Chargers for any electronic devices you bring with you.
- Books, games and other ways to entertain your family and yourself.
- Note – Public health regulations do not permit pets in shelters; service animals are permitted.
Parts of our region could experience some wicked winter weather. We have tips to help you weather the storm.
If you have to venture outside, dress in several lightweight layers of clothing and a hat that covers the ears. Sporting mittens will provide more warmth to the hands than gloves and waterproof, insulated boots will help keep your feet warm and dry and maintain your footing in ice and snow.
Winterize Your Preparedness Kit
Check the supplies in your preparedness kit and replace any missing or expired items. Include extra blankets and extra warm clothing for each family member.
Heat Your Home Safely
Avoid using a stove or oven to heat your home. If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface and turn the space heater off when leaving the room or going to sleep. Keep children and pets away from space heaters and do not use it to dry wet clothing.
Prep Your Ride
Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter with a window scraper, kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck, extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. Pack high protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, small battery‑operated radio, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, extra prescription medications, blankets and important documents or information you may need. Fill the gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel lines from freezing. Clean the lights and windows to help you see and check out our 10 Driving Tips to Keep you Safe this Winter.
Keep Pipes Warm
When the weather is very cold outside, prevent frozen pipes by opening cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around the pipes. Let cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.
Protect Your Pets
Don’t forget about family pets. Bring the furry members of your family indoors. If that’s not possible, provide adequate shelter to keep them warms and make sure they have access to unfrozen water.
Be Ready for Power Outages
Charge cell phones and keep flashlights handy in the event of a power outage. If you use a generator, do so correctly. Never operate a generator inside your 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.
For more winter weather safety tips, visit redcross.org.
Old man winter could hit our state with some wicked winter weather. While we encourage you to stay off the roads if possible, if you have to drive in snow or freezing rain, follow these tips about how to drive safely during a winter storm or what to do if you become stuck in your vehicle:
- Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter with a window scraper, kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck, extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. Pack high-protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, small battery-operated radio, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, extra prescription medications, blankets and important documents or information you may need.
- Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
- Find out what disasters may occur where you are traveling and pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
- If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- 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 snow plows.
- Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.
- If you get stuck, don’t run your engine and heater constantly to help avoid running out of gas. Don’t use things like lights or the radio without the engine running so the battery doesn’t conk out.
- If you can, move your vehicle off the roadway. Stay with it – don’t abandon it. If you have to get out of your vehicle, use the side away from traffic.
We are proud of our local Red Cross leaders who have been recently honored for their commitment to bettering the communities they serve.
Women of Achievement Awards
June Sernak (left), executive director, American Red Cross Southwestern New Jersey and Peg Knight, board member, American Red Cross Southwestern New Jersey were recognized by the Boy Scouts of American for their outstanding leadership and notable contributions to their communities during its 4th Annual Women of Achievement Awards on Tuesday, December 8.
HomeTowne Television Fred Honold Community Service Awards
Christy Hodde, executive director, American Red Cross New Jersey Region and Dr. Robert J. Rubino (right), board member, American Red Cross New Jersey Region were recognized for their positive impact on the community with HomeTowne Television Fred Honold Community Service Award on Thursday, December 10. The award is given to members of the community who have gone above and beyond to serve their communities.
Across New Jersey, people have been participating in Red Cross activities to spread holiday cheer. Thank you to all who are giving something that means something this holiday season!
SENDING HOLIDAY CHEER TO OUR ARMED FORCES AND VETERANS
Holiday Mail for Heroes
Thousands of cards expressing encouragement and holiday cheer to military members and veterans have been collected at Red Cross offices throughout the state. Through the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign, the cards will be sent to members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving overseas and our veterans here in New Jersey this holiday season.
Townsquare Media radio stations 94.3 The Point, 105.7 The Hawk, 96.9 Lite Rock and WOBM, invited their listeners to participate with the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. The Point’s Laurie Cataldo and Ted Maturo presented hundreds of cards and pictures collected for U.S. troops and veterans. After hearing about the opportunity to participate, the local Starbucks in Toms River joined in the effort and made holiday cards available for their customers to sign.
Several youth groups are sending some smiles to our service members and veterans including the Red Cross Morris Youth Council which created more than 100 holiday cards and Cub Scout Pack 32 of Lambertville who drew pictures and wrote notes of holiday cheer to service members and veterans.
Employees from the Wyndham Hotel Group visited the Red Cross in Montclair on November 13 to create holiday cards, as well as help package cards collected through the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign into festive presentations to the military and veterans with ribbons and bows.
The Red Cross Essex Youth Council lent a helping hand sorting cards during its Holiday Mail for Heroes event on Saturday, December 12 where more than 30 youth volunteers from middle schools, high schools and colleges across Essex County gathered at the Red Cross Montclair office to sort and organize hundreds of holiday cards created as part of the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign.
“I had a great time,” said Sydney Scirica, president, Essex County Youth Council. “My favorite part is seeing all of the handmade cards from the little kids.”
Adopt A Unit
The American Red Cross of Northern New Jersey Board of Directors participated in the Red Cross Adopt A Unit campaign and collected items for comforts of home packages for the troops. Board members invited friends, family members, employees at their companies and other groups to get involved with item collections and writing holiday greetings for military members.
On Saturday, December 5, Board members, Verizon employees and family members, as well as a group of volunteers with UPS, donated their time to help sort items, write holiday greetings and prepare 100 comforts of home packages for shipment to the troops by the holidays.
Generous participation with the Red Cross of Northern New Jersey Board of Directors Adopt A Unit campaign included Board members, their families and employees with Verizon, Audio Visual Associates, IBEW 827, CWA 13000, BASF, Inserra Shop Rite & Shop Rite Family, Suez, PSE&G, JCP&L, UPS, NE Regional Council of Carpenters, NJ Carpenter Union – CWA District 1 Union, Nisivoccia, Prominent Properties-Sotheby’s International Realty, Reology, M. Groome Inc., Wilken & Guttenplan, LLC, Girls Scouts in Nutley, Cub Scout Pack 32, Erickson, and Greg and Joanne Breem, in memory of their daughter Megan.
When training prevents recruits at the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May from being able to return home for the holidays, Operation Fireside helps ensure our heroes have a happy holiday. The Red Cross pairs recruits with local families who have generously opened their homes and welcomed recruits into their family for the holidays. This year, approximately 700 Coast Guard recruits stationed in Cape May will enjoy a family holiday through Operation Fireside.
Totes of Hope
During November and December, the Parsippany Hills Red Cross Club collected items and created 27 Totes of Hope for homeless veterans. The totes contain personal care items, including soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, shampoo, rain ponchos and socks.
The Totes of Hope will be distributed to homeless veterans in New Jersey.
Veterans Holiday Social
Red Cross volunteers helped veterans at the Menlo Park Veterans Home get in the holiday spirit. On Saturday, December 5, volunteers hosted a Holiday Social where veterans enjoyed music, dancing, singing, cookies and hot cocoa.
HELPING THOSE IN NEED
During the Princeton Girl Scouts annual Community Service Night, Girl Scouts Troop 71830 from Princeton High School helped younger scouts create candy cane reindeer favors to bring a smile to the faces of Red Cross Home Delivered Meals clients this holiday season.
Munich Re America in Princeton participated in a Wish Tree program where employees selected and donated
requested items for Red Cross home delivered meals clients. Denise Faragasso, Law Department Senior Administrator, Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. presented the more than 100 donated gifts to the Red Cross. The gifts will be distributed to the home delivered meals clients for the holidays.
GIVING HOPE TO PATIENTS
Red Cross New Jersey Region volunteers and staff members rolled up a sleeve during Blood Donor Day on November 24 to help give patients the lifesaving gift of blood this holiday season.
View more photos of holiday happenings.
Our 2015 Holiday Gift Catalog has the perfect gift for everyone on your list! The catalog offers a variety of symbolic, inspired gifts so that you can honor the special people in your life. By donating to the Holiday Giving Catalog you can feel good knowing that your gift will help people when they need it most.