Are you ready for when disaster strikes?
Whether it’s the peak of severe weather, drought or hurricane season, it’s always good to be prepared for the unexpected.
September is recognized as National Preparedness Month and promotes family and community disaster and emergency planning throughout the year. Organized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the theme for 2019 is “Prepared, Not Scared.”
Businesses, homeowners and communities are urged to revisit their emergency disaster plans, if they have one, and to develop one if they do not.
Preparedness Month is also a chance to understand more about reducing risks to health and the environment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is through October. A hurricane on the Texas coast would pour tremendous amounts of rainfall into the basin, as well as bring powerful winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges and flooding.
Before you create a plan, know which disasters can affect your area. Do you live in an area prone to tornadoes, like portions of northern Texas in Tornado Alley? Or do you live near the Texas coastline, where hurricanes can make landfall and flood your home? Perhaps you live in an area prone to severe drought conditions, such as deep south Texas, where wildfires can burn for several days. Regardless of your location, always have a plan in place for when disaster strikes.
Once you’ve determined what disasters can affect your area directly, FEMA has broken down the planning process into four steps.
First, put together a plan with your family, friends or household members by discussing these questions:
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is the household communication plan?
Secondly, FEMA asks that you consider the specific needs of your household. Your plan and supplies should be specific to the daily living needs and responsibilities of your family. These could include:
- Dietary needs
- Medical needs like prescriptions and equipment
- Spoken languages
- Pets or service animals
Next, fill out a family emergency plan. You can use the example provided by FEMA or create your own.
Finally, practice your plan with your family or household.
Also of note, if you own or rent a home, it’s important to know ahead of time where you would run a generator. Generator exhaust is toxic and can sicken, if not kill, you. Generators should always be outside, away from doors, windows and vents.
If your drinking water comes from a private well, it’s essential to note your local or state contacts for inspecting the safety of drinking water after flooding. The EPA suggests keeping at least three days’ worth of water supply per person and pets.
FEMA has split the month into four weekly themes:
- Sept. 1-7: Save Early for Disaster Costs
- Sept. 8-14: Make a Plan to Prepare for Disasters
- Sept. 15-21: Teach Youth to Prepare for Disasters
- Sept. 22-30: Get Involved in Your Community’s Preparedness
To learn more about how to prepare for disasters, click here or here.