Staying warm in winter weather: how to help yourself, and some of El Paso’s most vulnerable groupsdfwnewsa | January 8, 2024 | 0 | Texas News
EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — El Pasoans are facing brutally cold conditions Sunday night that will continue into Monday. This comes after ABC-7 issued a Stormtrack Weather First Alert earlier this week to prepare you for freezing temperatures.
Here are some tips to help you stay warm:
- Bundle up. A nice, warm jacket or coat is always an essential, but it is not the only thing you should keep with you when temperatures drop. Accessories such as warm hats, gloves, scarves, boots, etc. are important, because experts say you can lose body heat through any exposed body parts. Also, layers are always a good idea.
- Weatherproof your home. Pipes can freeze during cold weather. To help prevent this from happening, you can continuously flush toilets, and turn faucets on to keep water circulating through those pipes. Additionally, if you have any exposed pipes outdoors, you can cover them with something to help insulate them.
- Prepare your vehicles. In case of an emergency, it is best to make sure your vehicles are stocked and ready. Make sure you have a full tank of gas, replace windshield-wiper fluid with a winter mix, and have an emergency kit. That kit should include jackets, blankets, snacks, water, a flashlight, chargers, extra sets of clothes, a first-aid kit, and anything else you may need in case you get stuck.
- Keep your pets indoors.
You can read more in-depth information and safety tips about winter weather on the CDC’s Natural Disasters and Severe Weather page.
Another aspect to consider when facing frigid conditions, is the groups most vulnerable to the risks the elements pose.
El Paso’s homeless population
ABC-7 crews witnessed several people without shelter around El Paso on Sunday. The Opportunity Center for the Homeless — a network of local homeless shelters — said they do everything they can for El Paso’s homeless community, especially in dangerous weather conditions like the ones we experienced Sunday night.
“We do everything in our power not to say no, and to be able to bring them in from outside,” said the center’s Director, John Martin. “For those that want to live on the streets, they will tell you themselves that it’s much easier to stay cool than it is to stay warm.”
Because of that fact, the center is asking the community for donations.
“The predominant items that we need at this point, because of the colder climates, are gonna be the blankets, are gonna be the sleeping bags… any type of cold weather clothing,” said Martin. “But also bear in mind, that regardless of the temperature, we have needs as it relates to toiletries.”
Donations to the center can be made at 1208 Myrtle Ave in South-Central El Paso, preferably on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. However, if you need to drop off donations outside of those hours, Martin asks that you call the center at 915-577-0069 in advance to arrange a time for drop-off.
ABC-7 spoke with several people around El Paso on Sunday, who wanted to remind the community to protect their pets from the cold.
“I think sweaters are really important for dogs with short and thinner coats… who stay inside mostly, I think it’s really important for them to have something,” said Agniprave Banerjee, an El Pasoan and dog-owner.
Just like humans, freezing temperatures can be life-threatening for animals who are outside in such conditions for too long.
It’s best to keep pets indoors. If for any reason, they are exposed to the cold — even for a short period of time — it’s worth bundling them up in any way possible. If not for sweaters and jackets; old clothes, socks, blankets, and towels also work.
Where you can donate
In addition to the Opportunity Center for the Homeless (see above), there are other local homeless and animal shelters that are always open to donations:
- The Rescue Mission of El Paso
- The Salvation Army of El Paso
- Humane Society of El Paso
- El Paso Animal Services
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