Plumbers were preparing for a busy day Friday as the freezing point continues

AUSTIN (KXAN) – “Well, make sure you get a good night’s sleep tonight, because [Friday] going to get pretty busy, “said JR Hernandez, plumbing manager at Radiant Plumbing and Air Conditioning, on the phone to an employee when we spoke to him Thursday.

“All hands on deck if we have to,” he said.

During the winter storm Uri, the Austin Fire Department received 2,449 inquiries about plumbing breaks.

Staff struggles have plagued the plumbing and repair industry for some time – a notion exacerbated by the pandemic as well as Uri.

Hernandez said his store has enough manpower to handle the expected increase in calls this week.

“Our plumbers are ready. We have stocked vans,” he said.

But across Austin, data from the Workforce Solutions Capital Area shows that 3,000 more tradesmen, including plumbers, are needed to meet demand.

Workforce Solutions, in collaboration with Local 286 and Skillpoint Alliance, launched an apprenticeship program to rebuild the plumbing workforce. About 400 people who originally signed up were employed in the field.

If you want to avoid having to call a plumber in the first place, Hernandez recommends a slow drip on your indoor faucets and covers for your outdoor pipes.

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