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Lessons learned on the anniversary of 'Snowvember'

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It's been one year since "Snowvember," the massive snowstorm that covered parts of Western New York in up to eight feet of snow and killed 14 people. Now, the Red Cross is partnering with New York State to offer free disaster preparedness training to area residents for future emergencies.The one-hour, interactive programs will focus on how to respond and recover from natural and man-made disasters. Local Red Cross spokesman Jay Bonafede says snowstorms are better weathered when one is prepared.

“We’re basically encouraging everyone to think about preparedness and to use this anniversary as an occasion to think about what you would do if that happened again. To look back and say, ‘I wish I had that when the storm hit,’ and to actually do it,” said Bonafede.

Bonafede says keeping water and nonperishable food around during snowstorms is essential not only at home, but on the road. He offered tips for people who may find themselves stranded in their vehicle during a snowstorm.

“You’re going to want to watch your fuel intake, you have to be careful with carbon monoxide as well. You know, you need to keep the car warm if it’s in a snowstorm-type situation, but you’re going to want to A.) make sure you have enough gas but B.) that you’re ventilating somehow and not, if you’re using just your heater, that you’re not putting yourself at risk for carbon monoxide,” said Bonafede.

Bonafede says it’s important to be ready for non-snow related emergencies as well. He says house fires are one of the most common emergencies people don't prepare for.

“You’re going to want to think about things that if you had to evacuate on a moment’s notice, maybe not so much for a snowstorm, but things that you want to be able to grab quickly. Basically having a go kit together with some money, cell phone chargers, contact information, really important paperwork. Something that you can grab literally at a moment’s notice if you had to run out of your house,” said Bonafede.

More information on the free disaster preparedness training can be found on the Buffalo Red Cross website.