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American Red Cross Wants to Make Sure Locals are Prepared for the Winter Weather

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ENDICOTT, N.Y. -

The winter weather has finally returned for the year, and the American Red Cross wants you to be prepared before you hit the road.

FOX40 talked with the Southern Tier Chapter of the Red Cross and they gave us some tips.

Maia Kunzman, Disaster Preparedness Associate with the Red Cross, said "The important thing to remember is that disaster can strike at any time"
It's important to be aware of the weather before you start up the car this winter. Pay close attention to the forecast, and if you have to drive make sure you have an emergency preparedness kit in your car.

Kunzman continued "We really recommend having a disaster kit prepared... And you can have just a small backpack in your car for that with some necessities like a flashlight a radio that's hand-cranked or battery-operated so you can keep track of what kind of weather scenarios you can be facing in your area while you're stuck... Also having some water... Some snacks... That kind of thing in the kit is a really good idea..."

If you do get stuck it's important to stay put and not leave your car.

Tying a brightly colored cloth to your antenna can help alert first responders of your location, and while having the engine running may keep you warm, it's important to conserve resources like fuel and battery power.

Kunzman elaborated "You can keep it running for about 10 minutes every hour is the recommendation... That will help to keep you warm and when you turn it off you can save that heat for a while so you are not getting too cold... And make sure you can drive again when someone pulls you out and you won't be out of gas... Also being able to have your lights on time to time will help first responders be able to find your vehicle in stronger snowstorms..."

One final tip is to get your car inspected ahead of the storms because you don't want to have car trouble as the snow moves in.