If you remember the Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse of 2011, you remember how quickly things got bad in El Paso. Hundreds of people had property damage due to pipes that froze and burst in their homes, rolling blackouts left a lot of us in the dark and freezing cold, and grocery stores became battlegrounds when people started fighting over food and water.

Fast forward to last week when Texas suddenly was in a deep freeze with feet of snow in some cities because of an artic blast of air that put most of the country in a deep freeze. We were lucky in El Paso because El Paso Electric hardened their infrastructure so we haven't seen the massive blackouts that the rest of the state has been suffering through, but it begs the question - are you and your home ready for a natural disaster?

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Here are 5 things you should check on while you have the chance. It might mean the difference between getting easily through a natural disaster or having a bigger one on your hands:

1. Know where to turn off your water - You probably know that by the curb in front of your house is the water meter. Lift up the manhole cover which is heavier than it looks and inside you'll find the valve that shuts off the water to your entire house. Spray WD-40 on it periodically and make sure you can easily move it should you need to shut off the water because of a burst pipe. They can happen at any time of the year and it's a good thing to know.

Patricia Martinez

2. Get rock salt - If there is a winter storm coming, you want to melt any ice by sprinkling rock salt on it before someone slips and falls. It's the easiest way to clear ice off of steps and sidewalks.


3. Prepare sand bags - In El Paso even a little rain can mean big flooding. The City and County offer free sand bags throughout the spring and summer. Get some and store them in your garage so you won't have to scramble to get them when weather is on its way.


4. Car charger for cell phones - If you don't have electricity in your house you'll need a car charger to keep your phone charged to let people know where you are or call for help if need be. They're inexpensive and you can just leave them in your glove box.


5. Important papers - If there is an emergency and you need to leave your house quickly, you don't want to worry about how to contact your insurance company or wonder where your important personal papers are. Get them together this weekend in one box or file folder and put them in an easily accessible place. If you need to evacuate quickly, you'll be able to take everything with you instead of having to start from scratch.


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