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Tips for Dealing with Winter Weather

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 1/31/2023

Many parts of Texas are under a Winter Storm Warning, which, according to the American Red Cross, means that life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours.

The American Red Cross also lists several tips to stay warm and be safe during a winter storm. While the most important tip is staying indoors, there are some not often thought of. These tips include:
  • Drink warm fluids and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • If going outside, keep your nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes covered in warm and dry clothing. These parts of the body are the most prone to frostbite.
  • Have a backup place to go if your home gets too cold, such as a loved one’s or friend’s house, or a warming center.
It is also recommended to gather supplies before winter weather hits, such as:
  • Food
  • Water
  • Medicine
  • Plenty of warm clothing and blankets
  • One gallon of drinking water per person, in case you lose access to potable drinking water.
  • Emergency supplies in your vehicle in case you need to leave.
The American Red Cross also recommends everyone have the knowledge of first aid and CPR in case emergency services might be delayed. Keep an eye out for symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia as well.

Around 430 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so it is important to test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and to check the battery life. Also, always drip faucets slowly and wrap outdoor pipes. Several stores sell insulation that can help keep pipes from freezing.

While doing the correct things can help make sure you get through winter weather, it is also important to know what NOT to do. According to The Weather Channel, these are some of the things you should NOT do:
  • DO NOT pour a bucket of hot water on your windshield to clear off ice.
  • DO NOT slam on the brakes on icy roads.
  • DO NOT try to heat your home quickly by drastically increasing the temperature.
    • Instead, set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature such as 74 degrees, as the thermostat has no way of speeding up the heating process and will instead just make your home too hot.
  • DO NOT use an open flame or electric heater to thaw frozen pipes.
  • DO NOT use outdoor heaters in a power outage.
  • BE CAUTIOUS of using space heaters. The below tips to stay safe with space heaters are provided by CNN.
    • Keep it at least 3 feet from anything flammable.
    • Don’t leave space heaters on without anyone in the room.
    • Plug the space heater directly into an outlet and not into a power strip or extension cord.
    • Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
    • Keep an eye out for burning smells, discoloration of outlets, or any other signs of malfunction.
All these tips are important to remember as Texas braces for coming winter weather. Stay safe, and stay warm, ATPE!