4 ways to prepare now in case another winter storm hits Texas


The devastating winter storm in February dropped snow and ice over Texas and nearly paralyzed the electricity grid, causing blackouts and water outages for millions of Texans over a period of days.

Although weather forecasters predict similar weather patterns to last winter, Texas is unlikely to see another winter storm.

But rescue workers warn that both natural and man-made disasters can occur at any time. It is important to be prepared and have plans for anything that might come up.

Do not be surprised. Here are five things you can do right now to prepare for a Texas storm:

Make a plan: Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes.

It is also important to know how to receive emergency alerts and warnings, where your accommodation is, what your evacuation route will be, and what you will need in your emergency equipment.

Millions of Texans without electricity suffered in February.

David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Check Your Emergency Supply Kit: Bexar County’s emergency management website lists pretty much everything you’ll need, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management has an emergency care kit checklist. Think of first aid kits, water and durable food for two weeks, cash, personal documents, medication, and radios that don’t need to be plugged in.

Charge your devices: Make sure your smartphone, tablet and laptop are fully charged in the event of an emergency or evacuation. Charge your power banks and portable chargers. Bring a multi-outlet surge protector along with all of your cables when hitting a shelter.

And have other gear handy in case you run out of juice, can’t find an electrical outlet, or find a way to connect to the internet. That means you have a battery operated flashlight (with extra batteries) and a physical card.

Also, think about how you will pass the time. Instead of draining your phone’s battery by scrolling through Twitter and playing games, keep books and board games close at hand.

Do you know your neighbors: So many Texans weren’t prepared for the storm. This is understandable when you consider how rare freezing temperatures and snow are in Texas.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency attaches great importance to a local “neighbors help neighbors” approach. This means getting to know people around you and those who need additional help or support before, during or after a disaster.

Some lessons from last year: The Arctic explosion, which lasted almost a week in February, caused millions to tremble in their homes or cars, or flock to heat stations. People died from carbon monoxide poisoning, car accidents, and fires. Some were starving.

The Alamo sits in the snow on the early morning of February 15th.

The Alamo sits in the snow on the early morning of February 15th.

William Luther / San Antonio Express-News

Hospitals were threatened with water and electricity losses. Some residents were hit with $ 17,000 in utility bills.

Remember, when the disaster strikes, it will be too late to prepare. Many did not buy propane, gasoline, or firewood in February until supplies were bought from grocery and hardware stores.

Also, be smart about how you stay warm. Carbon monoxide poisoning and fire hazard are serious threats.

Ready.gov, a national public service campaign launched to help people prepare for disasters, says the best way to stay warm is to provide your home with insulation, caulking, and weatherproofing Prepare for cold.

Officials also recommend learning how to keep pipes from freezing. They also tell you to install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms with battery backup.

If you can’t afford heating bills, weather exposure, or energy-related home repairs, contact the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for help.


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