Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2014 Vol. 61 No. 12

Texas Emergency Management Briefs, Tips and Links

Emergency Care Certification

EMS Certification

Texas law requires persons performing Emergency Medical Services to have a certification issued by the Department of State Health Services; it also requires these individuals to become credentialed to practice their skills under the license of a Medical Director. The department has identified several members with an EMS certification and hosted two Emergency Care attendant classes; a contract is in place with the City of Austin to provide this medical direction through their Medical director Dr. Paul Hinchey.  TDEM has hosted three credentialing classes with plans to host others in the future as other persons receive their EMS certifications; currently thirty Eight (38) DPS members across the department have been credentialed by the medical director to perform Basic Life Support skills under the medical director's authority. 

Winter fire safety outreach materials
People are at greater risk in the winter season when they cook holiday meals, display decorations, and may use unsafe heat sources. You can help prevent winter weather-related home fires in your community with these safety tips, social media messages, public service announcements, and publications.

TDEM staff

Source: National Fire Incident Reporting System 2009-2011

The threat of winter fires is real. Use these statistics to help citizens understand the severity and prevalence of winter fires.

  • 905 people die in winter home fires each year.
  • $2,091,000,000 in property loss occurs from winter home fires.
  • 67 percent of winter fires occur in one- and two-family homes.
  • Cooking is the leading cause of all winter home fires.
  • 5 to 8 p.m. is the most common time for winter home fires.

Winter Travel
As the possibility of winter weather makes driving conditions unpredictable and dangerous, the Texas Department of Transportation reminds drivers to stay off the roads as much as possible and use extreme caution when travel is necessary.

If you must drive, please keep in mind that sleet or freezing rain can make driving and walking extremely hazardous. Roadway conditions motorists could encounter during adverse winter weather include:

  • Loss of pavement friction due to wet, snow-covered or icy conditions
  • Restricted visibility due to fog, falling rain or vehicle spray
  • Lane obstruction due to standing water or plowed or blowing snow
  • Infrastructure damage (such as a washed-out road)

Winter Driving Safety Tips

Winter Weather
  • Reduce speed. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions
  • Maintain at least three times the normal following distance on snow or ice
  • Watch carefully for snow removal equipment and stay at least 200 feet back if you are behind a snow plow
  • Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas as they tend to freeze first
  • If you start to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until you feel you have regained traction then straighten your vehicle

For additional road safety preparedness information and tips, download the TxDOT Safety Guide for Winter Travel.

Highway Road Conditions Hotline
Call (800) 452-9292 for current information. For non-emergency roadside assistance, motorists can call the Texas Department of Public Safety at (800) 525-5555.

Social Media
Follow the TxDOT Twitter feeds or TxDOT's Facebook page for more road information.

For more information, contact TxDOT Media Relations at MediaRelations@txdot.gov or (512) 463-8700.

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