We at C.Y. Lee Legal Group understand how difficult this week as been for the majority of our Houston Community. As we slowly transition into the aftermath of this winter storm, here are a few tips to help you and your family stay safe and warm.
If there is any way to stay home, please do. As of now, Houston's streets are still recovering from the below-freezing temperatures and Wednesday's showers. This mix is adding up to black ice that will not likely disappear until Friday. If you are venturing out, give your car some time to recover from the freeze by letting it run for a few minutes before driving it and checking any lights that may be on. On your drive, stay alert for any caution signs, especially on bridges and highways. As an added precaution, pack a few emergency items such as a blanket, extra warm clothing, phone charger, water, and food. Again, the roads are unpredictable, and it's better to be prepared to be sitting in traffic.
Conserve Energy (when possible)
Millions of Texans are still without power around the state. Although the state hopes to remedy this situation as best as possible, many Texans will be experiencing blackouts to conserve energy. If you have consistent power, minimize your use by unplugging non-essential lights and appliances and turning down thermostats to 68 degrees. Houston-area residents should prepare to make do without electricity for the next few days until all powerplants are back at capacity. If you do not have power and are using battery power light devices, be sure to use them only when necessary. Texans using candles should monitor them at all times, especially with animals and children in the household.
Use Generators Safely
Texans using generators or heat-generating devices should monitor them at all times. These devices can produce carbon monoxide poisoning. All generators should always be placed in a dry area at least 20 feet away from any home window, vent, or door and be connected with all-weather, outdoor, heavy-duty extension cords. Remember never to use camp stoves or charcoal/gas grills inside your home, as this can also be deadly. If you or a family member is feeling unwell, call 911 as soon as possible.
To keep your home warm, make sure to close all windows and doors as best as possible. To further insulate your home, tape the crevices around your windows shut with tape, seal all drapes and blinds, and use towels to cover the gaps below doors. Move your family into one room if possible and closer to your heat source. Candles can also act as heating devices if necessary. To do this, take a candle and place it on a baking pan to minimize any fire risks. Next, grab either a terracotta planting pot if you own one or a cooking pot or saucer and place it facing down (the opening toward the candle) on top of the candle. Both methods can help radiate heat to the pot and act as a heater. Again, monitor your heaters as much as possible to help prevent any accidents.
Save Your Water
If you haven't already, fill up your tubs with water at home. Like power, water can be shut off any moment due to frozen pipes. If your county has a boil notice, be sure to follow all guidelines. Boil all water you will be using to ensure your family is safe. Be sure to purchase plenty of drinking water to ensure your family is properly hydrated at all times as well.
Prioritize Children, The Elderly, and Pets
Dress your children in the warmest clothes possible. Younger children lose body heat easier than adults. Check in on the elderly when possible. If you know anyone who is elderly around your neighborhood, be sure to lend a hand especially if they need any essentials. Bring your pets indoors. Due to freezing temperatures, pets should be brought indoors to help minimize any deadly accidents.
Lastly, seek immediate help if you or a family member is feeling unwell after hours without power. This could be hypothermia. Symptoms include shivering, confusion and low body temperature. Houston emergency rooms and medical facilities are open and available for anyone not feeling well.