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Hurricane Preparedness

Natural disasters devastate families around the world every day. We as Texans live in a climate that is frequently affected by hurricanes during hurricane season. Being prepared is vital. 

BE PREPARED, STAY PREPARED

Know Your Risk - Sign up for your community's emergency warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.

Gather Supplies - Keep in mind each person's needs, gathering supplies for at least three days. Stock up on items such as food and water, non-perishable foods, first-aid supplies, prescriptions, pet supplies, flashlights and batteries. Don't forget to charge electronics you may need.

Personal Safety - In your "go kit" include items like hand sanitizer, face masks, wipes, and liquid soap. 

Secure Documents - Remember to secure copies of important personal documents. Filing for government assistance requires documentation. Be sure to keep documents in a secure location and take them with you if you need to evacuate.

Protect Your Property - Shutter your home as needed, review your flood insurance policy (or sign up for one) and declutter drains and gutters. Most homeowner and renter insurance policies do not cover flood damage. A flood insurance policy generally does not take effect until 30 days after purchase, so be sure to maintain your policy.

Make Your Evacuation Plan - Be familiar with the route and shelter locations. Discuss and practice drills for your evacuation plan with your family each year.

 

KNOW

The National Weather Service (NWS), part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), issues alerts when weather conditions make hurricanes more likely. Know the terms used to describe changing hurricane conditions and be prepared to take appropriate action.

ADVISORY Tropical Storm or Hurricane Advisory—The NWS issues an Advisory when it expects conditions to cause significant inconveniences that may be hazardous. If caution is used, these situations should not be life-threatening.

WATCH Tropical Storm or Hurricane Watch—The NWS issues a Watch when a tropical storm or hurricane is possible within 48 hours. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, local radio, TV, or other news sources for more information. Monitor alerts, check your emergency supplies, and gather any items you may need if you lose power.

WARNING Tropical Storm or Hurricane Warning—The NWS issues a Warning when it expects a tropical storm or hurricane within 36 hours. During a Warning, complete your storm preparations, and immediately leave the threatened area if directed to do so by local officials.

 

GATHER

Plan for your entire household including children, people with disabilities and access and functional needs, and pets. Keep your gas tank at least half-full at all times. Maintain basic emergency supplies (e.g., snacks, bottled water, first aid kit, flashlight, flares, jumper cables and other tools, a wool blanket, and a change of clothes) in your vehicle.

Supplies:

Medical supplies: Be equipped to tend to any current or unexpected medical conditions your family may have.

Tools and safety items: Small items like matches, flashlights, a multi-purpose tool, and a whistle can make a huge difference for your family while weathering the storm.

Food and supplies: Have at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water for your family. Remember to pack anything specific to your family’s needs.

Hygiene and sanitation: Practicing good hygiene can stop the spread of bacteria and infectious disease.

Protective gear: Protect yourself by packing warm clothes and blankets to prevent hypothermia. Don’t forget protective footwear and gloves too.

Comfort & priceless items: You may be away from your home for an extended period and your property may be damaged. Grab any items that are irreplaceable or may provide comfort to your family, especially your children. Ask yourself, “What would I need for myself and my family if a hurricane struck?”

 

SECURE

Collect and safeguard critical financial, medical, educational, and legal documents and records. Take a video “tour” of your home to document all items and the home’s current condition.

You will need:

Identification for your entire household, including pets

Housing documents, such as mortgage and lease agreements, insurance policies, tax statements and utility bills

Medical information, such as list of prescriptions, providers and special needs

Emergency contact information

Backup of all documents in waterproof bag or electronic copies

 

PROTECT

High winds: The best way to reduce the risk of damage to a structure from hurricane winds is to reinforce or strengthen the building including doors, windows, walls, and roofs. The best way to protect yourself is to consider either constructing a safe room that meets FEMA criteria or a storm shelter that meets ICC 500 criteria.

Wind-borne debris: Bring loose, lightweight objects (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans, and bicycles) inside; anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., gas grills and propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on buildings.

Flood: There are steps that you or your property owner can take now to make your home or business more flood resistant. Some improvements are simple and inexpensive; others require more of an investment. As your budget allows, take these steps to protect your property from flood damage and manage your risks.

  • Keep gutters and drains free of debris.

  • Install a water alarm and sump pumps with battery backup.

  • Install “check valves” in sewer lines to prevent floodwater from backing up into your drains.

  • Stockpile emergency protective materials such as plywood, plastic sheeting, and sandbags.

  • Elevate the heating system (furnace), water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.

  • Waterproof the basement.

  • In areas with repetitive flooding, consider elevating the building.

 

EVACUATE

Know where you will meet up if you are separated and where you will stay.

Pack a “go bag” including items you need to take with you if you evacuate. A “go bag” should be easy to carry and kept in a place where you can grab it quickly

Evacuation routes: Check with your state’s Department of Transportation or Office of Emergency Management website to find routes near you.

Emergency shelter location: To find a shelter near you, download the FEMA app at fema.gov/mobile-app.

FLOOD INSURANCE

Most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover flood damage, and flood insurance policies don’t automatically renew.

While an inch of water in your home might not seem like a lot, it’s enough to cause over $25,000 worth of damage.

There are a variety of hidden risks that can put your house in danger of flooding, like new housing developments or changes in weather patterns. Flood insurance is a surefire way to protect your home, even when it doesn’t face the obvious risks for flooding.

With flood insurance, you’ll have one less thing to worry about when a flood damages your home or belongings. And while the process of recovering may seem daunting, flood insurance makes it possible.