Don’t wait for natural disaster to strike to be Texas Ready

Wildfires forced a number of evacuations across the Highland Lakes last summer. Preparing for disasters - whether natural or manmade - is something all Highland Lakes residents should consider. Texas Department of State Health Services officials are asking all Texans to get ready by being informed, making a plan, and building a kit. Whether the situation calls for sheltering in place, or evacuating, emergency preparedness can help keep you and your family safe and secure.

Wildfires forced a number of evacuations across the Highland Lakes last summer. Preparing for disasters - whether natural or manmade - is something all Highland Lakes residents should consider. Texas Department of State Health Services officials are asking all Texans to get ready by being informed, making a plan, and building a kit. Whether the situation calls for sheltering in place, or evacuating, emergency preparedness can help keep you and your family safe and secure. File photo courtesy James Oakley

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The hurricane season began in June, and while the coast is several hundred miles from the Highland Lakes, it’s a perfect opportunity to remind residents to prepare for both natural and man-made disasters.

The Texas Department of State Health Services is urging everyone to “get ahead of what’s ahead” by being Texas Ready. It’s the perfect time for people to make sure they and their household have enough on hand to survive on their own for at least three days and know what to do and where to go if an evacuation is necessary.

Though hurricane season is part of the reason for the emphasis, disasters such as tornadoes and wildfire can strike the Highland Lakes area. Flooding, of course, remains a major concern.

“Texas has more declared disasters than any other state, so we all have to be Texas Ready at all times,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner. “If you wait until you see a disaster coming, you’ve missed the opportunity to make the best preparations possible, so please don’t delay.”

Officials recommend three steps to become Texas Ready.

The first is be informed. Residents should be aware of what could affect their area which includes staying in tune with weather watches and warnings.

A good way to stay up to date with local watches and warnings, as well as other emergency warnings, is by registering to get email, text, or phone updates from Warn Central Texas. People can even customize the alerts to where they live as well as where they work, because those could be two different locations.

Next is to make a plan. This should include the entire household so everyone knows what to do and where to go. Some of the planning includes deciding where to go in your house in case you have to take shelter. Also, you should develop a plan of where to go incase you have to evacuate.

Another key part of the plan is coming up with a way to communicate in case the household members get separated during an evacuation.

Be sure to practice these plans.

If you have pets, make a plan for what to do with them during emergencies.

And finally, build a kit. This disaster supply kit should contain supplies that will last at least three days. It should include food that doesn’t require cooking, one gallon of water per person per day, a batter- or crank-powered radio, backup batteries, a first aid kit, and any necessary medical, baby or pet supplies.

Plus, store copies out important documents in a waterproof container you can take with you, including identification, medications, copies of prescriptions, vehicle titles, insurance, and bank information.

Go to the Texas Ready website and the Warn Central Texas website for more information.

editor@thepicayune.com

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