How to prepare for Winter Emergencies
With any big Weather event, we learn something. And in February 2021, our area got hit with days of snow, ice and below freezing temperatures. To compound the effect of this, our Electric grid also went down and many homes were left without power for hours, some even days.
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This cold weather spell could be a sign of things to come, and we learned many lessons which we wanted to share to help you protect your family and plan for survival should the need arise (which we hope it doesn’t!)
If you lose power and water, even temporarily, there are measures you can take to protect yourself, your family, your property and your home.
If we have just come out of a very cold spell (successive days of below freezing temperatures) and temperatures rise you may need to be vigilant for burst pipes and water leaks.
The sooner the water is shut off, the less damage you may experience. Shut the water off yourselves as quickly as possible in the event of a burst pipe or leak.
How to Shut your Water off
Find the Main Water Shut-off Valve
It’s typically found outside underground in your front yard near the curb. If you are unable to remove your access panel with home tools, you can purchase a meter key at most home improvement stores. Main water shut off in some newer homes may be found in the garage.
Turn off the Water
To turn off the water, turn the knob clockwise until you can no longer turn it. The knob will either be a circular or a lever-style handle.
Relieve Pipe Pressure
Relieve pressure in the pipes by draining the water already in them. Run both hot and cold water tap at the lowest point in the house. You can also open the taps at the highest point in the house to reduce the vacuum effect and allow the water to exit faster.
How to protect your pipes if your electricity goes out and your house gets cold
Keep your taps dripping slowly. Conserve the water by collecting it in a bathtub or in pans and jugs in your sinks. You may need the water to boil in case your water supply needs to be shut off.
Open cabinets to exterior walls with pipes, to keep some heat going to those pipes.
The outdoor faucet cover socks which can keep out freeze rain, snow and ice. Great covers for outdoor faucet in the cold winter.
Insulated Pipe Covers
Pipe Insulation Cover by Pipe Warmers
Having these ready to go, to use before the temperatures drop – these ideas
Turning Off Main Exterior Shut-Off Valves in the City’s Meter Box
Get a Meter Box Key
If you have a meter box key, the water can be turned off at the City’s meter located near the curb of your home between the sidewalk and the street curb. Meter box keys are sold at your local home improvement store.
There is a single valve in the meter box. There is an arrow on top of the valve. To turn the water off, turn the valve one half turn clockwise until the arrow faces away from the meter. To turn it back on, turn it one half turn back towards the meter.
Relieve Pipe Pressure
Relieve pressure in the pipes by draining the water already in them. Run both hot and cold water tap at the lowest point in the house. You can also open the taps at the highest point in the house to reduce the vacuum effect and allow the water to exit faster
Turning off Water Shut-Off Valves inside your Home
– On your Water Heater (Note: Cut power to your hot water heater at your home’s breaker box before shutting off water)
– Under your sink
– On the side of your toilet
Water Meter Key & Gas Turn off Key
Don’t forget to Turn off your Sprinklers & Irrigation Systems
If your irrigation system is separate from your meter you will need to turn off at the irrigation system valve box or the automatic control box.
The irrigation valve box is typically located near the exterior shut-off valve in the City-controlled meter box.
This valve box Is usually a green rectangular. Inside this box is a series of valves with cut off valves on each end. Either of these valves will shut off the water.
The automatic control box are typically located inside of your garage.
To report an emergency main break or broken pipe
Day Time (8 a.m – 5 p.m)
972-941-7105 (Utility Billing)
After Hours (after 5 p.m)
972-727-1623 (Ridgeview Pump Station)
*If you live in an apartment, contact your property manager
Look for Space Heaters to defrost your Pipes & Tarps to protect your Pool Equipment
|Atmos Gas Emergency||Customers should call 9-1-1 first for an emergency||866-322-8667|
|Collin County Emergency Management||972-548-4383|
|CoServ Downed Line Emergency||844-330-0762|
|CoServ Gas Emergency & Outages||940-321-7800|
|CoServ Outage Map||Text STATUS to 768482 to receive updates on outages||Text OUT to 768482 to report an outage|
|ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas)||Customer Service||866-870-8124|
|Oncor||Customers can also download the Oncor storm center app “My Oncor” to report outages and track updates||888-313-4747|
|Public Utility Commission of Texas||Hotline||888-782-8477|
|Texas Emergency Management ||(locate warming stations statewide)||Website|
|Texas Health & Human Services||(assistance locating warming centers)||211 or 877-541-7905|
|Texas Roadside Assistance||800-525-5555|
|Texas Road Conditions Information||800-452-9292|
See something that needs Fixing around the City of Plano?
Your Emergency Shopping List
Buy these now, so you have them (just in case!)
Create an Emergency Kit for your home, office, school or vehicle
❏ Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
❏ Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
❏ Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
❏ Extra batteries
❏ First-aid kit (whistle, antibiotic ointment, bandages, face masks, gloves and reference book)
❏ Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
❏ Multi-purpose tool
❏ Sanitation and personal hygiene items, including bleach
❏ Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates,
❏ Cell phone with chargers
❏ Family and emergency contact information
❏ Extra cash
❏ Emergency blanket, extra clothes, sleeping bags
❏ Map(s) of the area
❏ Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:
❏ Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
❏ Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
❏ Games and activities for children
❏ Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
❏ Two-way radios
❏ Extra set of car keys and house keys
❏ Manual can opener
After an Emergency Situation, you’ll need
Our Most Recommended Plumbers
Our Most Recommended Electricians
We hope this Emergency Guide has been helpful for you, but we really hope you don’t need some of these ideas!!