During the first part of February of 2021, nearly half of America is under winter weather advisories as freezing temperatures grip the country. Texas is colder than it’s been in decades, one of at least 25 states under a winter weather advisory during this week’s historic cold outbreak. Leaving more than 4 million people without power across the state in the midst of extremely cold temperatures. Natural gas shortages, frozen wind turbines, and people using more energy to heat their homes all contributed to the power outage.
Many have retreated to warming up inside a car while there’s gas
Some families have a generator but it ran out of gas extremely quick because it takes so much to heat in extremely cold temps. Families are all bundled up with 3 layers of clothes, jackets, and shoes. Many even resort to laying on top of each other sharing body heat.
Without electricity, whole neighborhoods are left in the dark.
Power companies scheduled rolling blackouts in an attempt to conserve energy. The problem is that the severe winter weather and freezing temperatures have made it impossible for many power companies to generate power from gas, coal, or wind.
If you are ever affected by a power outage or know somebody who is, there are some basic safety tips to help minimize health risks right now.
During a Power Outage
Staying indoors is your best bet at staying safe during a winter power outage, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Stay off the roads if you can — icy conditions could lead to car accidents. In Fort Worth, Texas, at least nine people were killed in 133-car pileup triggered by winter storms.
Assess and Re-stock the essentials
It’s important to note that you don’t need to overstock or horde essential items. Be sure to leave enough for your fellow neighbor. In case the power outage lasts a few days, you should have the following on hand:
- Extra food and water: A three- to seven-day supply is a good standard
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Battery-powered radio
- Extra medicine
- First-aid supplies
If you need to make a trip outside, keep it as brief as you can, and layer up, the CDC says. Check with your local emergency authorities to make sure it’s safe to drive or travel in the cold.
This should go without saying, but sometimes, some of us want to “brave the cold” without properly preparing ourselves. It’s going to get cold. In extreme cold, the Houston Office of Emergency Management recommends wearing at least three layers of tops, plus an outer layer to block out wind, and two layers of bottoms. A hat, gloves and a warm face mask are musts, too.
The CDC recommends warming up with extra blankets, sleeping bags and winter coats.
Prioritize keeping babies and older adults warm
Cold temperatures are more dangerous for these groups (babies lose body heat more easily, and elderly adults often produce less of their own body heat), the CDC explains. Dress babies in stuff like