Houston cranks up the heat as freezing temps arrive

HOUSTON – Houston leaders are urging people to be safe and smart as they crank up the heaters ahead of freezing temperatures expected Monday night.

City officials said preparing for the cold weather is similar to being ready for hurricane season. Check your safety list and pack a bag in case you have to rush out of your home.

“Have your hand sanitizer your P.P.E. with you at all times,” said Nickea Bradley, deputy director of Houston’s Office of Emergency Management. “You never know when you might need to make the mad dash.”

Bradley said people should also remember the four p’s -- people, pets, plants and pipes.

  • Wear warm clothing and check on your neighbors.
  • Cover up your pipes outside. You can let your water drip from your faucet inside through the night so your pipes don’t freeze.
  • Bring your plants inside or cover them if they are outside.
  • Bring your pets inside if you can.

“If they are a large animal, like a horse you can’t bring them indoors, but you can give them a safe, warm place and blanket to keep warm,” adds Bradley.

Officials at the Houston Fire Department also warned people about using space heaters, saying they see a spike in fire calls when the temperatures drop.

Martee Boose, of HFD, said space heaters should not be run all night long and people should not use an extension cord to power them.

“In the Houston area, space heaters account for 100 fires annually,” Boose said. “They can cause serious injury and possibly death.”

Also, make sure your furnace is properly maintained before using it. Boose said people should check the air filter. She said if there is a burning smell that does not go away, people should call a professional to check it out.

“Using your stove or oven to heat your home instead of using a space heater -- that’s something you never want to do,” added Boose.

Also, make sure you have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. Each of those should test those once a month.