HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Red Cross is working around the clock to get localities ready for the damage Thursday’s ice storm could bring.
“Learning from the last storm, it’s so important to take this one seriously and make sure you’re ready,” said Communications Director Jonathan McNamara.
McNamara said volunteers have been working with other agencies, like the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Dominion Energy to prepare for the upcoming storm, which is Central Virginia’s second significant ice event in the last week.
“We’re having conversations on a, really, hour-by-hour basis to determine if any shelters need to be opened. We want to have the manpower and resources prepared, as well as potentially supporting warming centers,” McNamara told 8News.
However, he said this type of work is what Red Cross volunteers are trained and ready to do.
“Even though we don’t necessarily know what winter weather is going to come or when it’s going to come, we know that this is the time of year when we do see impacts,” he said.
McNamara said that in addition to the organization’s usual work and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the days following Saturday’s storm have been spent responding to communities that needed help.
There was one type of incident the Red Cross saw a lot of. “An actual significant increase in home fires, and that’s actually something we see in these types of events on a regular basis and that’s because people may be turning to non-traditional sources of heating,” McNamara explained.
Looking ahead to the new round of ice coming our way, he said you should watch where you place space heaters and be sure you are using them properly.
McNamara also warned about carbon monoxide poisoning when using generators.
He also recommends having supplies ready to go. “Extra food, extra water on hand. Charging your devices, if you have extra battery packs that could extend the life of your electronic devices,” said McNamara.
McNamara expects upcoming blood drives to be canceled because of the weather. He urges everyone to reschedule those donation appointments.
You can find more winter storm safety tips from the Red Cross here.