City of Austin encourages the community to prepare for winter weather in advance this year. The last few weeks of cooler temperatures are a chilly reminder to begin stocking up on supplies and planning ahead for winter.
The Homeland Security and Emergency Management Office (HSEM) is prepared to respond to an emergency if needed. HSEM updates the Winter Weather Plan annually. This plan is designed for emergency response in the event of severe winter weather so that the City can provide resources like shelter, food and water distribution and other lifesaving resources. The City’s annual tabletop planning exercise for departments is scheduled in December. This year, HSEM has also pre-deployed shelter-ready supply kits at nine City-owned recreation centers to ensure resources are ready to be activated throughout Austin when needed.
“The Central Texas area has historically had mild winters, but over the last few years we have seen extreme cold weather conditions that have had severe impacts on our community,” said Juan Ortiz, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department Director. “Our staff has been working to ensure we are better prepared to respond during an emergency, and we are asking the community to be more prepared as well. Our level of preparedness will make us more resilient.”
Community members can also help themselves be ready for cold weather this season. Follow the four P’s for winter weather safety. Check on People especially children, elderly, and those outdoors. Don’t leave Pets outside and bring in your Plants, too. Protect your Pipes from freezing and causing damage to your property.
Austinites can also be more prepared by following the Four Pillars of Preparedness.
Make a Plan: Before an emergency sit down with your family to plan out what you may need to shelter at home or what you need if you have to evacuate. Use the Neighborhood Preparedness Guide to help you get started.
Build a Kit: Once you know your plan and have your supply list, build a kit of needed emergency supplies in a go-bag so it can be used quickly. Include items like medication, pet supplies and use a check list to help get started.
Know your Neighbors: In an emergency, your neighbors are the closest resource and can often be the fastest to respond. Making friends with your neighbors can also have more benefits than just during an emergency.
Stay Informed: There are many ways to stay informed before, during and after an emergency. Follow readycentraltexas.org for emergency preparedness information. Other recommendations include:
Across the City, departments are preparing for colder weather. Follow winter weather safety guidance to keep your most precious resources safe this winter.
Austin Code Winter Weather Safety Guidance
Tenants who experience unresolved code violations, can request a Code Inspector by calling Austin 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000. Visit the Austin Code Safe and Sound webpage for more property maintenance winter tips.
Austin Water Winter Weather Safety Guidance
Locate your water shutoff. Locate the water main shutoff valve and keep it clear of debris and obstacles at all times. For most homes, the property owner’s shutoff valve is on your side of the water meter at the meter box. For renters, please consult with your property manager. If you cannot find your shutoff valve or if it is damaged, then you should be prepared to access the City shutoff valve in the meter box in an emergency. You may need a water meter key to open the meter box, which can be purchased at most hardware stores. Watch a video about how to locate your water shutoff.
Austin Energy Winter Weather Safety Guidance
Electrical Safety Tips:
Austin Transportation Winter Weather Safety Guidance
Cold Weather Sheltering
The public may call the Cold Weather Shelter hotline to check the activation status: 512-305-ICEE (4233).