By J.D. Miles

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Dallas received more than 600 calls this week from people whose frozen water pipes have burst.

Firefighters have only responded to about 150 of them.

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That’s why it’s important to know what to do before calling 911 or grabbing dry towels.

It starts with purchasing a key to open the cover over the water line, usually near the curb in the front of a home.

That’s where a valve controlling water flowing into a home can be shut off with a special type of crow bar or a wrench.

Both are inexpensive items that can save homeowners a lot of money repairing water damage.

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Umair Ahmed is a Plano homeowner who has only had to worry about shoveling snow and fortunately hasn’t had his water pipes break.

But he knows what to do if it happens.

“You’re a homeowner and that comes with responsibilities and amongst them is knowing how to take care of your things,” said Ahmed.

CBS 11 News searched hardware and home improvement stores that are open for the meter curb wrench and the key to open the cover and most were sold out.

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If you can’t get one before this winter storm clears, be sure to make it a priority before the next one.