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Officials offer cold weather, emergency preparation tips

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue crews spent three hours Sunday responding to 26 water problems — mostly caused by frozen pipes.

In one instance, a water problem in a third-story Tualatin apartment caused ceiling sheetrock to collapse.

“Fortunately, no one was injured, but a family was displaced,” said Cassandra Ulven, fire district spokeswoman.

As a result of the activity spike, five volunteer companies were activated to assist firefighters with water problems, and a chief officer worked at the dispatch center to help prioritize resources, she said.

“With temperatures below freezing, pipes and faucets near or in exterior walls may be at risk of freezing and bursting, resulting in a water problem when warmer temperatures return,” Ulven said.

Fire district leaders offered the following cold weather reminders:

  • Know how to shut-off the water to your home and unhook outside hoses from faucets.

  • Place foam covers over outside faucets and crawl space openings.

  • Leaving a trickle of water running from a faucet farthest away from the water meter can be helpful.

  • You can also wrap insulating material or electrical wire heating wrap around the pipes. This can be purchased at any home improvement store.

  • Never use a propane torch or an open flame to thaw a pipe due to the risk of igniting wood beams, flooring and other combustible materials around pipes.
  • Winter is also a good time to make sure your family is prepared for an emergency, Ulven said.

    Here are some tips to help prepare for power outages and other problems that happen during the winter months:

  • Gather necessary supplies, including flashlights, extra batteries, water, food, blankets, cellphone (vehicle) charger, manual can opener, battery-operated clock, etc.

  • Stock up on food and water, as well as necessary medications.
  • Fore more information about emergency preparedness, visit tvfr.com.

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