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Emergency Resources for Texans in the Wake of Historic Winter Storm

February 19, 2021

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HOUSTON, Texas - Amid the historic winter storm surging across the Lone Star State, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) released the following statement urging Texans to stay safe and heed the guidance and warnings issued by state and local officials:

"Texas is facing a massive winter storm, and it's critically important that Texans heed the warnings of local officials, keep warm, and conserve power until conditions improve. Sen. Cornyn and I called on President Biden to approve Governor Abbott's emergency federal disaster declaration request. I'm grateful that President Biden has approved that request. We need to continue to take this storm seriously. By staying safe, layering up, and conserving energy, we will come out stronger together."

Amid these emergency weather conditions, Texans have access to the following resources.

ELECTRICITY:

An estimated 2.7 million households are without power in the State of Texas. Follow the ERCOT website for information on power outages and restoration in your area. If you have power, please try to conserve it by:

  • Setting thermostats to 68-degrees to save energy.
  • Turning off and unplugging all non-essential appliances and lights.
  • Closing shades and blinds to conserve heat.

If you experience a power outage, make sure to:

  • Unplug electronics due to an increased risk of electrical surges.
  • Close off rooms to avoid wasting heat, and stuff towels or rags in cracks under your doors for insulation.
  • Wear layers of warm clothing, and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. Your fridge can remain cold for up to 4 hours if closed, and a freezer can last for up to 48 hours. Read more winter weather food safety guidance here.

WHERE & HOW TO KEEP WARM:

  • Over 200 warming centers are available across Texas. Find you nearest warming center by visiting the Texas Division of Emergency Management's interactive map.
  • Request assistance with food, housing, a warming center, or mental health care during this emergency weather conditions by dialing 2-1-1 or visit the Texas Health and Human Services website for help.

During freezing weather conditions, Carbon Monoxide poisoning can result from improperly heating your home or vehicle.

  • If you do not have one already, make sure to install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home and change batteries immediately once indicated.
  • If you have a generator, place it outdoors - never plug your generator into a wall outlet or main electrical panel - keep it away from windows and a minimum of 20 feet away from your home, and point the exhaust away from your home.
  • Don't run a vehicle inside a garage, even if the garage is open.
  • Avoid heating anything on a fireplace or stove in a poorly ventilated area, and don't heat your home with a gas oven.

ROAD SAFETY:

Weather conditions have created extremely hazardous roadways across Texas. While it is important to keep off the road if possible, please use the below reminders to be prepared for the inclement weather:

  • Drive for the weather by slowing down and maintaining at least three times the normal following distance behind other vehicles.
  • Stay at least 200 feet behind snow plows, and use extra caution on bridges, ramps, and overpasses that have increased ice.
  • If your vehicle starts to slide on ice, ease off the gas pedal or brakes and steer into the direction of the skid.
  • Never walk on the highway as drivers could lose control and hit you.

Navigate the Texas Department of Transportation's interactive map of Texas roadways for tips on driving in winter weather in your area before you leave.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS:

  • In freezing temperatures, make sure to bring your pets inside the house or garage and keep them away from any alternate heating sources.
  • Overexertion can be dangerous and lead to a heart attack: when shoveling snow, keep a steady pace and take breaks. Avoid hypothermia by keeping dry clothing on, and in the event your temperature drops below 95 degrees, seek immediate medical attention.
  • COVID-19 vaccinations have been halted in many areas due to the weather. For information on rescheduling in your area, read this helpful article here.
  • During emergencies, scammers may attempt to take advantage of those affected. Please use caution, and call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-621-0508 or file a complaint here.
  • For immediate crisis counseling due to the extreme weather conditions, call or text the National Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990.

Stay up to date on important information regarding changing weather conditions, safety tips, resources, and more by following the social media accounts below:

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