MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — As the Grand Strand gets ready for winter weather, local agencies including the American Red Cross and New Directions of Horry County are preparing their emergency shelters.

“We have pre-positioned shelter trailers throughout our area, and those shelters are ready to pull into a facility and set up a shelter should the need arise,” Michael Hesbach, executive director of the Red Cross East Carolina chapter, said.

The shelters will open if emergency management divisions request them, he said. To find a shelter close to where you live, Hesbach recommended downloading the Red Cross app.

“The Red Cross app will show pins on a map of where those shelters are located throughout the state should any of your viewers need to find a local shelter,” Hesbach said.

Hesbach said this could be needed if there is a lot of ice, which can cause pipes to freeze.

“Ice events typically last a little longer because the impact on power,” he said.”And thats where the shelter requests will come in, when they foresee large areas that will be without power.”

One of the best ways to prepare is to located the water cut-off valve for your house, Hesbach said. Houses in the area are not as insulated as others across the country, so pipes are prone to freezing.

Hesbach also recommended taking proper safety precautions when using a space heater.

“If you are using a space heater to supplement your house heating system that you are using it safe, that you are plugging it directly into wall and not using an extension cord,” Hesbach said.

The Red Cross app has more safety tips and a winter-storm checklist.

“We’ll be prepared to respond whether it is a snow or an ice event,” Hesbach said.

Kathy Jenkins, the executive director of New Directions of Horry County said the organization’s men’s and women’s shelters will be open. They’ll have extra bed mats and food in anticpation of more people coming in over the next two days, she said.