Emergency and disaster response agencies, like the American Red Cross, have offered tips on how to stay safe and warm during the winter storm ahead.


- Avoid calling 911 to check on weather or road conditions


- Avoid driving if at all possible


- Have essential and emergency items ready, including several flashlights with extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, car charger for your cellphone, a First Aid kit, blankets, non-perishable food items and a non-electric can opener. Sand or non-clumping kitty litter is good to have on hand to help make walkways or steps less slippery.


- Keep your car gas tank at least half full. Gas station pumps rely on electricity.


- If a loss of power occurs:


- Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer as much as possible to keep the temperature lower for a longer period.


- Unplug all appliances and leave only one light on to prevent a power surge


- Put on layers of warm clothing


- Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors


- If using a gas heater or fireplace to stay warm, be sure the area is properly ventilated.


- If running a generator, operate it inside a home or garage; they produce potentially deadly carbon monoxide fumes. Always keep running generators in an open and ventilated area. Connect only individual appliances to the generator


- Prevent pipes from freezing and bursting by letting them drip and disconnect hoses from outside spigots. Fill a bathtub with water and spare containers ahead of time for sanitation purposes should pipes freeze or burst