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The City of Beaumont Office of Emergency Management gives safety tips ahead of winter weather

Officials say to protect people, pets, plants and pipes ahead of the winter weather event that may impact Southeast Texas.

BEAUMONT, Texas — The City of Beaumont Office of Emergency Management continues to monitor and plan for the winter weather event that may impact Southeast Texas.

They say to plan for possible hazardous roadways and power outages and to protect people, pets, plants and pipes, according to their website. 

Winter weather safety tips:

  • Monitor local weather forecasts and be mindful of rapidly changing weather conditions. Make a family emergency plan and put together emergency kits.
  • Have a battery-powered radio with spare batteries in case you lose power. Car radios and chargers can be a useful way to stay informed and power up electronic devices. DO NOT SIT IN A RUNNING VEHICLE IN THE GARAGE OR WITH YOUR VEHICLE’S EXHAUST SYSTEM AGAINST A WALL OR BUILDING.
  • Loss of power and water supplies are some of the major concerns during freezing weather. Keep basic supplies on hand to survive for at least five days. Check on elderly family members or neighbors and make preparations for your animals. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR ANIMALS WITHOUT WARM SHELTER DURING FREEZING TEMPERATURES.
  • Report broken water pipes to 311. If your pipes break on your side of the meter, you should turn the meter off and make arrangements for repairs. If you need assistance let 311 operators know.
  • Disconnect outside water hoses. If left connected during freezing temperatures, the water hoses may expand and cause connecting faucets and pipes to break. Protect and insulate exposed pipes, faucets and exposed pipes in unheated areas.
  • Use foam padding sleeves or special insulating tape to guard your pipes. Even a small unprotected area can freeze and cause problems. Check all irrigation devices, backflow prevention devices, pool pumps, and unprotected fire sprinkler lines.
  • If possible, open cabinet doors along exterior walls to allow more heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks or appliances near an outer wall.
  • Meter boxes should have a properly fitting lid. If there is a problem with the meter lid, you have no water at all, or you need to report a water line leak, call 311.
  • Stay indoors if possible during extreme weather. If you must go out, dress to promote good health and safety. We recommend wearing extra layers of clothing, wind-resistant clothing, hats, gloves, thick socks and waterproof or water resistant shoes to help protect against frostbite.
  • If you must perform work outside, try to take frequent breaks to warm up and avoid over exertion.
  • Have your emergency heating equipment approved for indoor use and the appropriate fuel for it. Emergency heating equipment includes kerosene or propane heaters and wood stoves. Use caution with alternate heating sources, (space heaters, generators, etc.) to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and/or fires. Maintain ventilation around the heat source and if possible, use heaters with an automatic shut-off switch, non-glowing elements and ventilation to the outside. Carbon Monoxide kits can be purchased at local retailers.

Heating safety tips:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from heating equipment such as a furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or space heater.
  • Never use the oven to warm a room.
  • Use the proper fuel designed for your fuel-burning space heater.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

The Office of Emergency Management also says it's important to have emergency lighting in case the power goes out, such as flashlights or lanterns with a supply of batteries or fuel.

They suggest keeping an emergency supply of ready-to-eat, non-perishable food and an emergency supply of water on hand.

Officials urge to travel only if absolutely necessary and make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas and is serviced before weather gets extreme. If you must travel, be mindful of freezing temperatures and precipitation. 

There is a possibility some bridges, overpasses and roadways may freeze over. Motorist should exercise extreme caution while driving in these conditions. They recommend if you drive, do so in the daylight.

Slow your speed and do not follow close to vehicles in front of you. If you drive on icy roadways, your vehicle may slide and you will lose control. Do not exit your vehicle to assess damage, if your vehicle slid on ice, there will likely be others that will slide on the ice and will not be able to avoid hitting you. 

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