Seasonal Messages

Information to keep your home and family safe throughout the year:


Halloween safety tips
Thanksgiving safety tips
Christmas Tree safety tips
Winter holidays safety tips

Candle safety tips
Carbon monoxide safety tips
Avoiding damage from frozen pipes


SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS:  TORNADO SAFETY

Tornadoes can occur at any time of year in Texas, including December, but they happen most often in spring and summer.  Spokesmen for the Division of Emergency Management urge Texans to learn what to do when a tornado is sighted.  The most important rule is to get low and stay low.

  • Seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor of the home, such as a bathroom, closet, or room without windows.
  • Go to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor of the office building, or to the designated shelter area.
  • If traveling, leave your motor home and take shelter in a nearby building.  If no building is nearby, lie flat in a ditch or ravine.  Mobile home parks should have a designated area, as well as a monitor to track broadcasts during severe weather.
  • Never stay inside a car.  Leave the car and lie flat in a ditch or ravine.  If a building is nearby, take shelter inside.  Never try to outrun a tornado in your car.
  • At school, follow plans and go to a designated shelter area, usually the school’s interior hallway on the lowest floor.  Stay out of auditorium, gyms and other areas with wide, free-span roofs.  If you are in a portable or manufactured building, go to a nearby permanent structure or take cover outside on low, protected ground.
  • Go to the interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor of a shopping center.  Do not leave the shopping center to get in your car.
  • If you are in open country, take cover on low, protected ground.
  • Avoid areas near exterior glass or doors, areas along exterior walls, or rooms with wide expanse roofs – such as auditoriums, cafeterias and gyms.
  • Learn the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning.  A Tornado Watch means watch the sky.  A Tornado Warning means a tornado is on the ground and you must seek shelter immediately.

For more information on what to do prior to and during severe weather, go to knowwhat2do.


SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS:  EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT

The Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety urges Texans to prepare for severe storms before they strike.  Your family should have an emergency supply kit on hand, maintaining supplies in water resistant, easy-to-lift containers you can move rapidly if necessary.  This supply kit is appropriate for severe weather events and other emergencies as well.  It should include:

  • First-aid kit
  • Cash (power outages mean banks and ATMs may be unavailable)
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Important documents and records, photo Ids, proof of residence
  • 3-day supply of non-perishable food, one gallon of bottled water per person per day, coolers for food and ice storage
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Blankets, sleeping bags and extra clothing
  • Extra prescription medications, extra written copies of prescriptions, hearing aids, other special medical items
  • Eyeglasses and sunglasses
  • Extra keys
  • Toilet paper, clean-up supplies, duct tape, tarp, rope
  • Can opener, knife, tools
  • Booster cables, road maps
  • Special supplies needed for babies, older adults or pets

Remember to change perishable supplies and water every six months.  


SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS:  WHEN FLOODWATERS COVER THE ROAD, BACK UP

The Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety urges drivers to exercise extreme caution during severe rain events.

Flooding is the most common cause of weather-related deaths in Texas.  As little as six inches of water can knock adults off their feet.  Vehicles are not safe either.  When drivers see water across a road, they need to back away and choose a different route.

Never drive through water on a road.  Water can be deeper than it appears and water levels can rise very quickly.  Floodwaters erode roadways.  A missing section of road, even a missing bridge, will not be visible with water running across the area.

If a car stalls in floodwater, get out quickly and move to higher ground.  Floodwaters may still be rising and the car could be swept away at any moment.

Water displaces 1,500 pounds of weight for every foot that it rises.  In other words, if a car weighs 3,000 pounds, it takes only two feet of water to float it.  Cars can become death traps because electric windows and door locks can short out when water reaches them, trapping occupants inside. 


SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS:  SAFETY TIPS WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES

The Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety urges Texans to take precautions during lightning storms because lightning is the second most common cause of weather-related deaths in the state, after flooding.  Here are some important tips to protect yourself and your family.

Lightning tends to strike tall objects as well as metal objects, and can travel through moist soils for dozens of feet.  Move into a sturdy building and stay away from windows and doors.  For increased protection, avoid electric appliances or metal plumbing.  Stay off the telephone.

If you are outside, the interior of a car, truck or bus is relatively safe from lightning.  To be safe, do not touch metal on the inside of the vehicle.  The outside bed of a truck is a deadly location.  Do not lean against a car or truck – get inside the vehicle quickly.

If you are outdoors with no shelter available, stay low.  Move away from hills and high places, and avoid tall, isolated trees.  Do not touch metal objects, such as tennis rackets, baseball bats or golf clubs.  Do not ride bicycles, or lean against fences or metal sheds.

If you feel your hair suddenly stand on end, it means you may be a lightning target.  Crouch low on the balls of your feet and try not to touch the ground with your knees or hands.  Avoid wet areas that can conduct the lightning charge. 


SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS:  DELAY THE GAME WHEN THUNDERSTORMS APPROACH

The Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety warns the public that sports fields are dangerous during thunderstorms.

Sports fields are large, open areas where people are often the tallest objects.  Metal bleachers, fences, light poles and goal posts attract lightning.  When lightning hits these objects, the charge travels along the object, potentially injuring anyone in contact with the metal.  Lightning can bounce off any of these objects and strike people nearby.

Schools, athletic programs, day care centers, and summer camps, as well as coaches, referees and parents participating in field events need to understand the dangers of lightning.  They should be prepared to suspend games and move the players and spectators inside nearby buildings or into cars and buses until the storm threat passes.

The Division of Emergency Management offers the following lightning safety tips.

  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
  • If you are outdoors with no shelter available, stay low.
  • Move away from hills and high places, and avoid tall, isolated trees.
  • Do not touch metal objects, such as tennis rackets, baseball bats or golf clubs.
  • Do not ride bicycles, or lean against fences or metal sheds.
  • Do not lean against a car or truck – get inside the vehicle quickly.
  • If you feel your hair suddenly stand on end, it means you may be a lightning target.  Crouch low on the balls of your feet and try not to touch the ground with your knees or hands. 
  • Avoid wet areas that can conduct the lightning charge. 

BARBEQUE GRILLING:  SAFETY TIPS

Each year about 600 fires/explosions occur with gas grills.  Many cause injuries. Often these accidents happen the first time a grill is ignited for the season or after the grill's gas container is refilled and reattached.

Before you plan your next outdoor cookout, review these safety tips:

  • Always keep your grill at least 10 feet away from any combustible structures like your home or fence.
  • Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
  • Always keep propane gas containers upright.
  • Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill or indoors.
  • Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the grill.
  • Never keep a filled container in a hot car or car trunk. Heat will cause the gas pressure to increase, which may open the relief valve and allow gas to escape.
  • When using barbecue grills on decks or patios, be sure to leave sufficient space from siding and eaves.
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CHARCOAL GRILL SAFETY TIPS

Keep in mind that charcoal when burned in grills produces carbon monoxide (CO). CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can accumulate to toxic levels in closed environments.  On average 17 people die annually from CO fumes from charcoal being burned indoors or in a poorly ventilated area. To reduce the risk of CO poisoning

  • Never burn charcoal inside of homes, vehicles, tents or campers.
  • Charcoal should never be used indoors, even if ventilation is provided.
  • Since charcoal produces CO fumes until the charcoal is completely extinguished, do not store the grill indoors with freshly used coals.

More grilling safety tips