As the Lone Star State enters the colder months of winter, undoubtedly many recall the still-fresh memories of 2021’s Winter Storm Uri.
Hundreds lost their lives due to the blackouts and freezing temperatures that the storm brought to Texas, and in the months since many Texans have looked into the various ways they can prepare for similar disasters.
Dr. Monty Dozier, director of the Disaster Assessment and Recovery Program at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, joined the Texas Standard to share some tips on how you can stay prepared this winter.
If the lights go out
Several Texans died due carbon monoxide poisoning while trying to keep warm during Winter Storm Uri. There are several options that can be turned to as sources of warmth should the lights go out.
Generators are one option for those able to keep one at their residence, but Dozier stresses keeping them outside if running.
“Make sure that that generator stays outside, that you run an extension cord from outside into the house if you’re trying to power up an electric heater or those kinds of things,” Dozier said.
For those using propane, Dozier recommends keeping the tank filled before entering the colder months of the year. And for those with access to a fireplace, stock up on firewood – never use briquettes or anything used for barbecuing inside the house, Dozier said.
For those who are unable to keep a generator, Dozier says candles and flashlights should be kept handy. Make sure there are sufficient batteries for the flashlights and portable lights. Also, extra battery packs for one’s cellphone can help keep one connected to information and updates.
“One thing that’s good to invest in is a solar type of a battery pack that will charge with the light of the sun because you may be out of power or your batteries may continue to run down before you’ll have the chance to plug them back into an electrical source,” Dozier said.
Finally, make sure your carbon monoxide and smoke detector batteries are well-charged. Additionally, Dozier says to make sure the battery backup system works on the detectors if they’re connected to an electrical system.