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Red Cross on standby, ready to assist families in need

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OKLAHOMA CITY – While a few organizations have opened warming stations across the city, the American Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma says it is on standby to assist those in need across the state.

Currently, two volunteers are in the Ardmore area to provide assistance as they anticipate the southern areas of the region will be impacted by ice.

So far, they have responded to two house fires and are providing a few tips for those trying to keep warm this winter.

·         All heaters need space.  Keep all things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.

·         Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.

·         Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.

·         Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.

·         Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces and chimneys inspected annually by a professional, and cleaned if necessary.

·         If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.

Residents also need to be careful of frostbite and hypothermia.

Signs of frostbite include a lack of feeling in the affected area, skin that appears waxy, is cold to the touch or is discolored.

Signs of hypothermia include shivering, numbness, glassy stare, apathy, weakness, impaired judgment or loss of consciousness.

Preventing cold-related emergencies includes not starting an activity in or around cold water.

Be aware of the wind chill, dress appropriately and avoid staying in the cold too long.

Also, drink plenty of warm fluids and avoid caffeine and alcohol.