City of Tyler, Smith County Cold Weather Response Plan now available for viewing
SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Two hundred and ten people in Texas died as a result of the winter storm in February. That’s according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Officials in Tyler and Smith County recently released this year’s cold weather response plan.
“Actually, this is not a new plan, and the common question is, ‘Are y’all meeting now in response to that?’ Yes and no. We meet throughout the year, and by we there are community partners, not just the fire department,” said Paul Findley, the City of Tyler Fire Marshal.
Emergency management officials all meet and get together and are on the same page ahead of weather-related events. The plan provides useful information to the public.
“It’s a very broad plan. You’ll look at it, and it gives you the basics on hypothermia and frost bite and things like that,” Findley said. “Well, even in a normal winter, if you will, with temperatures in the 40s or 50s, if you’re cold, and you’re outside, and you’re wet, and the wind is blowing, you could still find yourself in danger of hypothermia.”
The plan also provides resources that are available during the winter months, like sheltering locations, transportation information, and at-home safety reminders.
“There were probably a lot of folks that went out and bought generators in response to the last event we had earlier. There’s nothing wrong with that, and if they’re used safely, they’re perfectly fine,” Findley said “But you should not have a generator running in your home. And you should not have a generator running in your garage, even if your garage door is up because carbon monoxide can begin to fill up your home and that can be very, very dangerous for you and your family.”
While the temperatures may not be near freezing yet, Findley said we are coming up on one of the busiest cooking days of the year, and they respond to a lot of calls for residential fires.
“We do know it’s going to get colder. People are going to light their fireplaces; they’re going to be using space heaters. The holiday decorations are coming out and there’s a whole lot of cooking going on on Thanksgiving,” Findley said. “So, risks that are associated with those are things we can focus on and prevent things from happening.”
Findley also said it’s important to check on family and friends as you prepare for emergencies because not everyone has the ability to get everything they need.
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