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Warming stations open as Tulsa prepares for cold weather

How To Prevent Freezing Pipes
Posted at 4:49 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 20:02:53-05

TULSA, Okla. — As cold weather is expected in the Tulsa metro area this weekend, the City of Tulsa is opening two warming stations for anyone seeking shelter from the freezing temperatures.

Where are the warming stations located?

The Salvation Army Center of Hope 

  • Located at 102 N. Denver Ave. in Tulsa
  • Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Check-in time is 4:30 p.m. daily.
  • Due to social distancing, capacity limits are in place.

John 3:16 Mission 

  • Located at 506 N. Cheyenne in Tulsa
  • Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • They will be serving a mid-day and evening meal.
  • Check-in time is before 5:45 p.m. daily.
  • Must have a valid ID.

Housing Solutions, Tulsa’s lead agency fighting homelessness, will have outreach teams out to help inform people about shelters that have availability and assist with transportation all weekend. Preparations are in place should any shelters reach capacity.  

If you are worried about specific instances of people without adequate shelter, you can fill out Housing Solutions’ outreach request form online here. If you see someone in immediate danger, call 911.

What else is the City of Tulsa doing?

The City works closely with the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency (TAEMA) and NWS Tulsa to monitor weather forecasts and conditions to be ready for whenever cold weather or when a winter storm is coming.

The City of Tulsa is responsible for clearing snow and ice from the Gilcrease Expressway, L.L. Tisdale Expressway, and all main streets. Other highway segments in Tulsa are the responsibility of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

If they can pre-treat roads they will, but they might not be able to.

“We would love to go out and pre-treat before every storm but trying to make that timing period between the rain and the actual winter weather coming in, that’s our hardest time trying to forecast when that window is going to be,” Leon Kragel, Street Maintenance Operations Manager, said.

After a snow or ice storm begins, the goal is to make expressways and arterial streets safe and passable as soon as possible, especially for first responders. Some of the resources available to attain this goal are:

  • 63 truck-mounted salt spreaders  
  • 51 truck-mounted snowplows
  • 7 4x4 pick-up trucks equipped with snowplows 
  • 210 employees, including drivers and support staff
  • Approximately 10,000 tons of salt and still receiving material  

For the safety of everyone, the city is making one request.
“If they see a unit in front of them stay back. We do have signs but if we’re actually in a forecast those signs cover up quick so they just need to stay back and give them plenty of room,” Kragel said.

Once the main streets are cleared and conditions permit, selected residential streets may be treated based upon traffic and steepness.

The City of Tulsa's website includes every map and route the City uses for arterial streets, collector streets, schools and steep hills

What can I do for my own home?

While the cold weather isn't expected to last long, the freezing temperatures can freeze your pipes or cause harm to your pets.

READ MORE: Frigid Tulsa forecast means it's time to bring pets inside

The City of Tulsa wants Tulsans to take the necessary steps to protect their pipes and property by:

  • Insulating any outside walls and unheated areas of your home 
  • Disconnecting garden hoses and installing covers on outside faucets
  • Turn off water sprinklers and wrap outdoor pipes
  • Turning your indoor faucets in a position that allows them to slowly run consistently with both your hot and cold water open 
  • Opening cabinet doors below faucets allows warm air to contact the pipes - especially if located on walls that are on the outside perimeter of your home 
  • Relocating any cleaning supplies to stay out of reach from children and pets, if located in these cabinets.

What should I do if a pipe bursts? Or lose water?

In the event water ever stops flowing out of your pipes, the City of Tulsa says you should: 

  • Leave faucets and cabinet doors open.
  • Apply a safe heating source facing the walls with the frozen pipes in them to warm them up.
  • If you have another working water source, soak towels with hot water and wrap them around the pipe.
  • Call a plumber if running water does not flow to your pipes in a reasonable amount of time – if the pipe is located on an exterior wall, it’s imperative to act swiftly 
  • You can call the City of Tulsa at 311 during business hours, email, or call the after-hours water emergency number at (918) 596-9488 and our staff can advise you 
  • Leaving faucets open makes sure you can expedite the thawing process.
  • Never use a blowtorch or an open flame device to warm your pipes 
  • Make sure your heating source has a tip-over safety switch and is placed away from any flammable materials, children and pets.

If a pipe bursts in your home: 

  • If your home has an independent/private shut-off valve, shut off the water.
  • If not, call the City of Tulsa at 311 during business hours, email, or call the after-hours water emergency number at (918) 596-9488.
  • Call a plumber to fix pipes inside the home.

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