In 2021, Texas faced an unprecedented freeze. The freeze caused damage and devastation throughout the state. The chances of another storm of that magnitude occurring again anytime soon are slim, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. If it happened once, it could happen again, so it is a good idea to be ready. Below you will find information on preparing for a freeze, tips on what to do mid-storm, and advice on how to recover from any damage.  

  1. Preparing
  2. Mid-Storm
  3. Recovery

Prepare Your Home for a Freeze

Winterizing your home will help prevent possible damage, and as a bonus, make your home more energy-efficient. This will help keep you comfortable inside while the storm rages on outside. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure your insulation is up to par. You should also have enough material to insulate exposed pipes to prevent them from freezing. Having your chimney cleaned regularly will help prevent possible fires that may occur due to soot build-up. It’s also a good idea to ensure your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working. Better yet, consider installing backups to be safe. If prolonged freezing weather is in the forecast, be sure to refill your prescriptions before the weather hits. It is best to have ten days to two weeks’ worth of medication at home should traveling become treacherous or places close due to freezing weather or power outages.

Create an Emergency Kit

An emergency kit can be helpful for many reasons. From having things on hand in case your power goes out for an extended amount of time to having a bag prepped in the event you need to evacuate to a safer (or warmer) place. This kit should have everything you need, but keep in mind that it should be light enough to carry. Think about things you wish you had last February and include those items in your kit as well. Other things you should have are:

  • Battery-operated light sources (and extra batteries), like a lantern or flashlight, so you don’t have to rely on candles that could potentially start a fire
  • Battery pack to charge your phone
  • Ice scraper and brush to clear snow off of vehicles.
    • Also, consider keeping sand or cat litter just in case your tires start spinning and you need traction
  • Weather radio
  • Enough water and nonperishable food for two to three days
  • Blankets, socks, and other clothing to keep you warm
  • A list of phone contacts in case your phone dies
  • Cash in case credit cards don’t work.
  • Something to help you stay distracted, like a deck of cards or a book

Find a more detailed list here.

Create (or Buy) a First Aid Kit

Having a first aid kit during a winter freeze might not seem necessary, but accidents can happen at any time. Someone could slip and fall on the ice. Someone else could experience chest pain but have to wait for emergency services to make it through a dangerous situation to get to them. Many other scenarios could happen where a first aid kit could be useful. You can buy a fully stocked one from the store or create your kit. Some things the American Red Cross suggests you have are:

  • Absorbent compress dressings
  • Band-Aids
  • Adhesive cloth tape
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Aspirin
  • Emergency blanket
  • Hydrocortisone ointment
  • A roll of gauze
  • Gauze pads
  • Thermometer

Find a more detailed list here.


Many of us lost power for days during last year’s freeze. Having no heat for an extended period can be dangerous so consider investing in a generator. However, be sure to use caution when running the generator because they produce carbon monoxide. A generator should never be used inside and should be kept at a safe distance from the house. There are two other options that, while more costly upfront, are much safer. Consider installing a permanent generator or installing solar panels.

Meet Your Neighbors

When it becomes too dangerous to travel, or in other times of crisis, your neighbors can become your lifeline. Forming a community with those that live near you can also create a sense of security during challenging times as you help each other get through it.

  • Facebook and Nextdoor are excellent ways to communicate with your neighbors and stay in touch
  • Keep your neighbor's phone numbers somewhere handy
  • If one of your neighbors is elderly, disabled, or otherwise vulnerable, consider giving them a walkie-talkie so you can stay in contact should the power go out
  • If you are worried about someone, consider having them stay with you, or you stay with them during the duration of the crisis

Stock Up on Food & Water

Food and water are necessary for survival. Food can keep you warm and your energy up, while water keeps you hydrated. Water is also needed for basic sanitation. Remember these tips when stocking up on food & water:

  • Food with protein and fiber keep your energy up and your gut healthy
  • Ramen with a fried egg, boxed macaroni and cheese, and rice and beans are all simple and filling meals that can keep you energized
  • Lost power? Shelf-stable milk and tofu, beef jerky, meal kits, and canned or packaged tuna are excellent options if you are unable to cook
  • Consider investing in a propane camping stove to boil water and cook food, but remember to use these stoves outside to prevent inhaling the deadly fumes
  • If you stock up on food, remember it does expire! Set a reminder to check every few months or twice a year and pull out the food that expires soon to use up
  • Keep some water stored at your house, either by purchasing bottles at the store or storing water from the tap in food-grade containers
  • Old water can become unsafe. If you buy bottles from the store, keep an eye on their expiration date. If you fill water from the tap, switch the water out every six months. Use the “old water” to water your plants.
  • If you know a prolonged freeze is coming, consider filling your bathtub with water. That way, if your pipes freeze, you can still have water to wash dishes or flush the toilet.

Find more information here.