With the recent extreme cold temperatures and snow forecast here in the northeast, The Red Cross reminds everyone that preparation is the key to staying safe. Please visit redcross.org/wintersafety for information on preventing and thawing frozen pipes as well as protecting your pets during snowstorms. There is also additional information on what supplies to have and what to do before, during and after a winter storm. Winter storms can range from moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard that lasts for several days.

"Many winter storms bring low temperatures, strong winds, sleet and freezing rain," said Polly Patterson, Regional

CEO of the Northeast PA Region. "Make sure you have emergency supplies for your entire household in case you

end up having to remain in your home for a few days."

Before the storm

People should know the difference between a winter storm watch and a warning. A watch is issued when winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. During a warning, severe weather conditions have already begun or will begin within 24 hours and people should immediately take precautions.

The Red Cross recommends having the following items on hand in a convenient spot:

- At least a 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and non-perishable food

- A flashlight, battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and extra batteries

- A well-stocked first aid kit

- A 7-day supply of medications and medical items

- Supplies for babies and pets

People can learn what to do in an emergency in case advanced medical help is delayed by taking a First Aid and

CPR/AED course and by downloading the free American Red Cross First Aid App.

When a Storm is Coming

- Listen and watch for critical information from the National Weather Service.

- Bring pets inside. Move other animals and livestock to sheltered areas.

- Stay inside. If you must go out, wear warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in layers.

- Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep emergency supplies in vehicles.

Patterson reminds everyone: "Check in on your neighbors - especially those requiring special assistance and those living alone."