SouthEast Texans are not accustomed to wind chills in the teens or temps in the 20s. Make sure, if you have to spend time out of doors, you have layers to insulate against the cold. Check on elderly neighbors to ensure their comfort. Under no circumstances, use a charcoal grill to heat an enclosed space. Make sure any space heater has tip protection and is a minimum of 3' from combustibles, such as bedding or drapes. If you use a fireplace, make sure the flue is clear and the damper is open. Since the air is very dry, having a humidifier will increase the heat carrying capacity of the air. A simple pot of boiling water may help. Be sure to keep children away from hot cookware on the stove, and make sure to add water as needed.
Like humans, pets in our area are not accustomed to temperatures this cold. You may want to consider moving outdoor pets into the garage for a couple of nights or winterize their shelters. Increased calories through increased food also helps and water is a needed more because of the dry air.
Many of the earlier homes in Bellaire have pipes that run in the attic. Freezing temps could cause pipes to freeze and burst. Know where your water shut off is located in the event that a break happens. Disconnect any hoses from the hose bib, covering the bib with commercially available covers or even newspapers and tape. If your outside hose bib is behind an interior cabinet, keep the cabinet doors open to allow the warmed air into the cabinet. If the temps drop and stay low for a protracted time, you may want to consider leaving your attic access cracked a little. Insulating pipes in the attic is a great thing to do if you can do so safely. Bellaire Fire Department does not advocate the running of water in the pipes to keep from freezing. If all residents did this, the available water for firefighting would be diminished.
Potted plants should be moved inside, if the pot is too heavy cover the entire plant and pot with a cover. Leaving the pot exposed could damage the roots. Plants that are of a tender nature should be covered with anything that will help protect the leaves. Old sheet or drop clothes will work. Remove during sunlight hours so the plants and ground around will warm up. Mulching around the root system will help hold additional heat.
Happy New Year and Stay Warm
Bellaire Fire Dept.