Students should start preparing for winter
Many people remember the winter storm in February last year. Power and water went out across the state of Texas. Winter is just a month or so away so students need to start thinking about preparing for the worst.
For about a week, many Texans had no power and no water. Some people’s homes were almost at freezing temperatures. Families huddled in single rooms together trying to keep warm from the fatal outside temperatures.
Pet owners prayed their pets would survive, especially people with cold blooded animals like reptiles. Some households didn’t prepare with canned foods or water and had to ration. The power outages are said to have caused 700 deaths.
It was a horrible time and it was more horrible to learn that it could have been avoided by preparing the power grid. Thankfully, power plants are now required to prepare their facilities for the winter and extreme conditions, which hasn’t been done or been required by a governing body in Texas before. It’s a work in progress but hopefully the changes will be evident in the winter.
While Texas lawmakers have passed legislation to make the power grid better, people shouldn’t solely rely on the government and power companies to figure everything out. They should prepare to make it on their own in case the worst happens.
It’s important for students to have non-perishable food on hand in case of an emergency like extreme weather. Canned and dry food is the best since you may not be able to warm up frozen food in the microwave if you lose power. Even many on campus residence halls last year lost power during the winter storm.
Of course UH Dining will take care of you if you have a meal plan, but their food may be be prepackaged sandwiches and chips if campus loses water and the staff can’t cook. UH Dining may have to change locations too if the dining halls lose power. It’s good to have food of your own just in case.
Water is another thing you should stock up on water since many neighborhoods didn’t have it. For residential students, UH will provide water, but it may take time for them to get supplies, so you want to make sure you have extra water to wash your hands and drink until then.
Students should also make sure they have portable chargers, lanterns, flashlights and candles, if their building allows them, to make sure they have light as well as a way to charge their electronics in case the power goes out.
One of the most important things is to make sure you keep warm if the heat goes out. Having plenty of blankets is good and handwarmers can be useful. A tent can also be used to trap heat inside. Having all the household members sleep in one room is also a good idea to maximize body heat.
It’s important to make sure you’re prepared this winter in case things go awry with the grid again. However, make sure not to overbuy and hoard these items as other people need them. Just buy a few items every time you go grocery shopping.
Winter is just a couple months away and in order to avoid the disaster of last year, students should make sure they’re prepared well in advance.
Anna Baker is an English senior who can be reached at [email protected]