Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion. Prepare for power outages and have non-perishable food and water on hand. Do not travel unless it is an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra blanket, flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case you become stranded.
When cold weather occurs, Houstonians should remember to protect the Four ‘P’s: People, Pets, Pipes, and Plants.
Dress in warm, layered clothing, including gloves, a coat, and a hat when you are outside.
Never leave children or the elderly in vehicles during cold weather, as they can act as refrigerators and expose anyone inside to sub-freezing temperatures.
Never use a generator, grill, camp-stove, or any gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device to heat your home (or any enclosed area). These devices can generate carbon monoxide, which cannot be seen or smelled, but is deadly.
Protect your pets by ensuring that they have a warm, safe place to sleep. The best place for a pet to sleep is in a heated environment.
Do not shave your dog down to the skin in winter. A longer coat provides more warmth.
Never leave your animal in a car during cold weather. Cars can act as refrigerators in the winter, holding in the cold and causing animals to freeze to death.
For more cold-weather tips for pets, visit the ASPA’s ‘Cold Weather Safety Tips’ webpage: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/cold-weather-safety-tips
During cold weather, pipes may freeze and rupture, causing water leaks and damage to your home. Protect your home by opening the cabinets under kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow air from your home’s heater to warm the pipes under the sink.
Insulate outdoor faucets and pipes with insulation or newspaper, and be sure to disconnect and drain hoses from outdoor spigots.
Protect plants from freezing by covering them with plant-cover fabric, or a light blanket with plastic sheeting on top of it.
Bring in potted plants or group them together, near the edge of a building. Remember that soil in containers can get just as cold as the air temperature, and cause the roots to freeze, even if the above-surface leafs survive.
For up-to-date weather information, visit the National Weather Service Houston/ Galveston forecast office website: weather.gov/hgx. The latest road conditions for Texas can be found at drivetexas.org.
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