Red Cross helps communities stay safe during power outages

Red Cross helps communities stay safe during power outages
As thousands remain without power in Central Virginia, the Red Cross has continued to respond to house fires and trees into homes, displacing people. (Source: Red Cross Virginia)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As thousands remain without power in Central Virginia, the Red Cross has continued to respond to house fires and trees into homes, displacing people.

“What we are seeing is more people are using space heaters, they are leveraging generators and what we see in these events, people bring those into their homes and they may not have used them for an extended period of time,” said Jonathan McNamara with the Red Cross. “We’re also responding to a noticeable increase in fires across the area this weekend. On top of that, we have had trees going onto homes that Red Cross volunteers are responding to.”

The Red Cross is working with different localities to assist with warming centers, as volunteers respond to emergency situations, like McNamara described. The organization is providing information to hopefully prevent someone from getting hurt while attempting to stay warm.

“Maybe you are turning on a generator, make sure you’re checking with the user manual for it, that your connections are sound, that you are not overloading those generators, and making sure your generators are dry. Those are the basic safety tips you can take - they make a big difference in keeping your family safe and try to prevent the home fires that us and local fire departments do see,” he explained.

McNamara says for those who do not have generators and remain at their home waiting for the power to come back on, it is important to layer up with clothing and blankets, and take steps to ensure pipes do not freeze.

“Make sure you’re protecting your home, keeping your cabinets open and the other parts of your house, so that heat can get to the pipes, the last thing we want is frozen pipes in this situation. Maybe keep your faucet to a drip,” he said.

While people may go to loved one’s homes who do have power, the Red Cross says it is important to take COVID-19 precautions.

“Making sure you’re wearing a mask. The last thing we want is for someone to seek shelter in an alternative location and not be properly masked up and socially distant. We understand people are making difficult decisions during this time,” said McNamara.

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