Be Prepared to Shelter in Place During the Winter

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Did you know that disaster preparedness is a year-round thing in Texas?

Being ready is not important just during hurricane season. Every season can bring extreme weather events, and winter is no exception. In recent years, freezing temperatures and ice storms in Texas have knocked out the power for days, caused pipes to burst, and made transportation difficult if not impossible.

If there is a severe winter weather event and you are stuck at home – called “sheltering in place” – are you prepared? Do you have what you need to stay safe, well, and warm at home?

Know what’s coming

It’s important to know about severe winter weather before it happens so you can prepare. There are a number of ways that you can get severe weather alerts, and there should be options that are accessible for you. Make sure you are set up to get at least two types of alerts, like through the FEMA app and with a weather radio.

Also, your utility provider might have an alert system that you can sign up for to get real-time updates about services, disruptions, and restorations.

Local help

Reach out to your local emergency management department now to see what they’ll do if a winter storm causes you to have to shelter in place. Will they be conducting check-ins on certain residents? Will they deliver a power source or food and water? Find out what your emergency management department will do during and after an event so you can plan accordingly and fill in the gaps.


Now is the time to stock-up on certain non-perishable (also called “shelf stable”) food items and bottled water so you have it just in case. If you wait until a winter storm is announced, there will be a mad rush at the stores, and you might not be able to get what you need.

Now is also the time to make sure you have plenty of warm clothes on hand. If you lose power and don’t have heat, you’ll want to dress in layers to stay warm. And have some blankets, too.

Once an event is announced, that’s when you can get any last-minute food items you might need. If you can’t get to a store quickly, try ordering your groceries through one of the grocery delivery apps, like Instacart or DoorDash. Also, make sure you have enough medications and medical supplies to get you through the event.

Back-up power

If you are stuck at home and the power goes out, things that you rely on could become unavailable. You may need an alternative power source to:

  • refrigerate medications,
  • run a heater,
  • use assistive technology,
  • operate medical equipment, or
  • just charge your cell phone.

There are all types of alternative power sources – like batteries, battery banks, and backup portable power sources or stations to include generators. To figure out what you need, think about what equipment or devices require constant power or regular charging. To find what backup power option can provide for your needs, you will have to estimate or calculate wattage or electricity requirements.

Also, do you receive Medicaid services and rely on life-sustaining medical equipment? If you do, you might be able to get a back-up power source through Texas Medicaid.

Your information

No matter the situation, it’s always a good idea to keep your important information in one place. Create your own Emergency Ready Sheet and download it to your device or print a copy.

Additional information


Publication Code: DPR25

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