Breckenridge Texan

Stephens County and Breckenridge officials prepare to help those in need during upcoming winter storm

Stephens County and Breckenridge officials prepare to help those in need during upcoming winter storm
February 11
16:50 2021

By Carla McKeown and Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

With much of Texas experiencing extremely cold temperatures and even colder weather forecast for the weekend and into early next week, Stephens County emergency managers are preparing to assist local residents who do not have adequate shelter or heat. Additionally, they are making plans to deal with the possibility of an electricity outage due to the weather.

Thursday afternoon, Feb. 11, Stephens County Judge Michael Roach, Breckenridge Police Chief Bacel Cantrell, Fire Chief Calvin Chaney, Sheriff Kevin Roach and others had a conference call to make arrangements for checking on residents and offering assistance. According to the National Weather Service, Breckenridge and Stephens County could have up to seven days of below-freezing temperatures with the overnight low dipping into single digits, possibly as low as 1 degree on Sunday night/Monday morning. Monday’s forecast also includes an 80 percent chance of precipitation.

Judge Roach laid out a three-stage emergency plan for dealing with the upcoming cold weather. The first stage includes identifying and assisting anyone in the community who either does not have adequate heat in their own home or who are homeless and do not have shelter or electricity. In those cases, the residents could be provided with portable heaters or even provided a room at a local motel until the dangerous weather is over.

Stage two would go into effect if some of the town loses electricity. In that case, those in need could be sheltered at some of the community’s larger facilities, if they have power, where cots will be set up if necessary. Stage three will be enacted if the entire community loses electricity. In that case, those who need the most assistance will be taken to the Stephens County Law Enforcement Center, which will be set up with generators. However, space will be very limited there.

“We’d like to get through this without anybody freezing to death, and that’s just the ugly truth,” Roach said. “And there may not or there may be a better way to say that, but we don’t want anybody freezing to death. And we’ll do our best for that.”

Those coordinating the effort to keep everyone safe and warm are asking the community to check on their neighbors, friends, family members and anyone else they think might need help.

To request assistance for someone in Breckenridge or Stephens County, from extra blankets and heaters to a place to stay for a few days, call the Breckenridge Police Department’s non-emergency number — 254-559-2211 — and let the dispatcher know the situation. Someone will then make contact with the person in need and assess the situation to determine what kind of help they need. Although a local motel has offered to provide rooms as needed, the arrangements must be made through the BPD.

If there is an emergency situation, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 for help.

Anyone who wants to volunteer to help or who can provide supplies to those in need should call the Stephens County Courthouse at 254-559-2190 and leave a message.

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