Winter Storm Preparedness
Winter weather is unpredictable, and even more so in Texas. Accumulation of ice and snow coupled with fluctuating winter temperatures can bring down utility poles, trees, and limbs. This can disrupt power for days. In a winter storm emergency, restoring power and heat to members is our highest priority. It is important to be prepared for dangerous winter storms and the power outages they may cause.
Prepare A Winter Survival Kit
Prepare an outage kit to have on hand before any outages occur. A fully stocked outage kit will be crucial if extended outages occur. Here are some ideas of what a kit can include:
What to Prepare Now
- Find air leaks both inside and around the exterior of the home. Just wet your fingertips and run them around the door or window frame to feel a draft or hold up a tissue and see if it waves. Check around fixtures that penetrate walls, such as exhaust fans and electrical outlets. Look for unfilled gaps and cracks near dryer vents, chimneys, and faucet pipes.
- Seal leaks between door frames and windows with weather stripping or caulking. Make sure attics and flooring, especially above unheated spaces such as crawl spaces and garages, are properly insulated.
- Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
- Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
- Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.
- Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
- Have an exit plan, if you are unprepared for extended outages you need to have a place to go where you can be safe. This planning is especially important for those with disabilities or who rely on life-support devices requiring electricity, such as respirators or ventilators. While NVEC encourages members with medical needs to make sure the co-op is aware of their situation, there is no guarantee that members with medical needs will have their power restored immediately, especially during emergency outage events. Those who rely on medical equipment need to be extra prepared. Their emergency preparedness kit should include additional oxygen tanks, equipment batteries or other backup equipment, and if possible, a backup generator as an alternate power source.