AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) encourages Texans in all regions of the state to make preparations for winter weather as we enter the cold weather season.
“While we’ve all heard the joke about Texas only having two seasons – hot and hotter – all Texans need to prepare now for the serious threats that the upcoming winter could bring,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Every year, Texas faces the dangers of winter weather conditions, including freezing temperatures, ice, sleet, and even snow. Texans are urged to stay informed about changing weather in their area and to take steps now to help stay safe during the coming months.”
Texans should winterize their vehicles by checking the battery, windshield wipers (including appropriate freeze resistant-fluid), tire pressure, tire tread, fluid levels, and lubricate door and trunk locks to prevent freezing. In addition, here is a list of emergency supplies drivers can 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.
DPS offers the following additional tips for staying safe during possible 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.
- 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. Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector.
- 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.
Remember animals are particularly vulnerable to extreme outdoor elements. Do NOT leave your pets exposed to the cold during a winter weather event. If you have outdoor pets ensure they are properly protected from the cold by bring them indoors or providing other adequate shelter.
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.
Visit http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/ThreatAwareness/winterstorm.htm for additional information and tips regarding winter weather preparedness.
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