11:38 AM

Arctic Blast: Checklists to Stay Safe at Home and Work


The coldest temperatures of the season, coupled with dangerous wind chills, are headed to North Texas this week with an Arctic cold front.

Temperatures will fall below freezing during the day on Thursday. Much of North Texas will remain below freezing until Sunday. A combination of subfreezing temperatures and windy conditions will result in wind chills falling below zero across the entire region Thursday night into Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Be sure to dress warmly, cover up any exposed skin and limit your time outdoors.

If you haven't already visited with your manager about your department's winter weather preparation plans, and what it means for you, we encourage you to do so today. If the weather does turn icy, there is precipitation that causes slick roads, or there is a loss of power, be sure that you are familiar with your department’s operations during a severe weather event.  

As the temperature drops outside, Cook Children’s will be monitoring conditions and will keep leaders informed of important information. Please be sure to that you, and your families, are taking precautions to stay safe, warm and healthy. Your dedication to serving our patient families no matter the weather demonstrates our commitment to putting safety first, every time.

Your Cold Weather Prep Checklist

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has stated that it is monitoring the weather forecasts and models for the coming cold fronts, and that it expects sufficient generation to meet forecasted demand.

Preparation tips from MedStar, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Austin Water include:

  • Prepare your home: Test batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Turn off and cover outside faucets. Remove connected hoses and cover outdoor faucets. Turn off and drain automatic sprinkler systems.
  • Get important phone numbers, including for your health care providers, pharmacy, and veterinarian.
  • Make sure you have enough medication for several days on hand.
  • If you rely on medical devices in your home, have a backup plan in case you lose power for an extended period of time, such as a backup generator or battery pack and backup oxygen bottles.
  • Create a communication plan for your family.
  • Know how to get reliable information during the weather event, such as the National Weather Service.
  • Gather food, water and supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power.
  • Check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults and people living with chronic illness.
  • Bring pets inside. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.

Take Precautions Outdoors

People exposed to extreme cold are susceptible to frostbite in a matter of minutes. Areas most prone to frostbite are uncovered skin and the extremities, such as hands and feet.

  • Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: wear a tightly woven, preferably wind-resistant coat or jacket; inner layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
  • Sprinkle cat litter or sand on any icy patches.
  • Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.
    • Work slowly when doing outside chores.
    • Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
    • Carry a cell phone.

Do This When You Plan to Travel or Have a lengthy Commute

  • Keep the gas tank full in case of power outages and to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Check your tires – do they have adequate tread and air pressure?
  • Check the heater, defroster, brakes, brake fluid, ignition, emergency flashers, exhaust, oil, and battery to make sure they are in good working order.
  • Pack an emergency bag for your car. It’s a good idea to have blankets, warm clothing, hats, gloves and nonperishable snacks available in case you become stuck in winter weather.
  • Bring along jumper cables.
  • Keep your cell phone charged.
  • Turn off water at the meter and set your thermostat to 65 degrees or higher before leaving town.

Carbon Monoxide

If the power does go out, be very cautious of carbon monoxide.

  • Don’t use anything such as a BBQ grill or propane tank to heat your home.
  • Don’t run a vehicle inside of a garage attached to your home.
  • Don’t heat your home with a gas oven or stovetop.
  • Don’t burn charcoal inside of your home. 
  • Do seek medical attention if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Do ensure the carbon monoxide detectors in your home are properly functioning and installed in areas that will wake you if it alarms.
  • Do check for local resources, such as warming shelters, to keep your family safe.