Winter weather brings winter hazards

When winter weather hits, it brings along with it the hazards we know all too well in the west Texas. The biggest and most obvious danger by far is icy roads.

Our local Office of Emergency Management advises you not to travel unless absolutely necessary, but if you must drive, drive slowly and exercise extreme caution.

And in your home, heaters can present hazards of their own when they first turn on after a long period of dormancy.

Captain Jacob Oehlert of the Amarillo Fire Department says his department typically sees an uptick in fires when winter weather rolls around.

â??Any time the heaters start kicking on, weâ??ll get the calls,â?? said Oehlert, â??and a lot of times itâ??s the first time the heaterâ??s kicking on. A lot of times theyâ??re running off a pilot light with a thermostat, and people have the thermostats turned down and they don't realize at night it gets pretty cold and it's causing those heaters to kick on. Even a bigger danger than fire is the carbon monoxide poisoning by any of the gas appliances. Make sure they're vented properly - that's just as much a concern as fire itself."

The National Weather Service in Amarillo says the single most important thing you can do to keep yourself and your family safe is by staying abreast of the constantly changing weather with the most up-to-date information possible.

"Obviously, we always like when people pay attention to the forecasts and keep up to date,â?? said NWS meteorologist B.J. Simpson. â??As we get closer to events, things do change a little bit, so it's always good to keep in touch with it all the way up to the event."