Winter Weather Safety Tips
It has been cooooold in Texas lately, and it looks like it is going to stay that way for a little while longer. Winter weather in Texas is no joke and can bring dangerous conditions like freezing temperatures, ice, sleet, and snow. The Texas Department of Public Safety has put together tips about how to stay safe during the cold winter months that I wanted to share.
Winterize your vehicle:
- Check the battery.
- Check fluid levels.
- Check the windshield wipers, including making sure they have appropriate freeze-resistant fluid.
- Check the tire pressure and tire tread.
- Lubricate door and trunk locks to prevent freezing.
Emergency supplies drivers should keep in their vehicle:
- Blankets/sleeping bags, extra clothing, gloves and a hat.
- Cell phone, radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
- First-aid kit and pocket knife.
- High calorie, non-perishable food and bottled water.
- Bag of sand or cat litter to provide traction for tires.
- Windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope and a shovel.
Additional tips for staying safe while traveling during winter weather:
- Monitor local weather broadcasts and follow up-to-the-minute weather conditions, at http://www.weather.gov/.
- Purchase an all-hazards weather radio for up-to-date warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information.
- Sign up for your local emergency notification system.
- Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before any trip, and keep your gas tank full.
- On icy roads, drive slowly and increase distance required for stopping, and avoid using cruise control.
- Watch for downed trees and power lines across roads. If power is out, treat all intersections as four-way stops.
- Allow extra time when traveling in inclement weather.
- Avoid traveling when sleet, freezing rain or snow is predicted, and monitor road conditions by visiting www.drivetexas.org or by calling 1-800-452-9292.
Tips to make sure your home, family and pets are ready for the cold weather:
- Insulate outside faucets and pipes near outer walls.
- Make sure that furnaces, heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves are clean, well-ventilated and in good working condition.
- To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, NEVER operate generators and other fuel-powered devices inside a home or an enclosed space, such as a garage. The deadly odorless, colorless gas is produced any time a fossil fuel is burned, with sources including motor vehicle engines, generators and fuel-burning appliances or heating systems. Make sure your home has working carbon monoxide detectors.
- Make arrangements for proper shelter and an emergency supply of food and water for your pets and livestock.
- Stock up on firewood and supplies, including canned goods and bottled water.
- If you will be away from home for a long period of time, set your thermostat to 55 degrees or higher and open cabinets under sinks.
- Make sure you have inclement weather contact numbers for schools and work.
- Check on friends and family members whose health or age may put them at greater risk from cold weather.
During the winter season, residents can contact 2-1-1 Texas, the state’s free 24-hour helpline, to check on possible community-established warming centers or related services in their area. No matter where you live in Texas, you can dial 2-1-1 or 877-541-7905 for community resources.
For additional information and tips regarding winter weather preparedness, visit http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/ThreatAwareness/winterstorm.htm .
Stay safe, Texas!