Tuesday marked the start of a new month and this year’s hurricane season, which runs through the end of November. Meteorologists and weather experts anticipate an active hurricane season, predicting 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.
The time to prepare is now. If you haven’t already, finalize your emergency plan, stock up on critical supplies, bookmark preparedness resources, and stay informed.
- Create an Emergency Plan: Knowing what to do protects you and your loved ones. Every family is unique and has different needs. Discuss how you will stay in contact with each other, what you will do in an emergency, and where you will go if you need to evacuate. This plan is your guide and best protection against the dangers of a disaster.
- Stay Informed: Closely monitor the local National Weather Service forecast and sign up for emergency alerts at Ready Harris. If you must get on the roads, check road conditions on Houston TranStar’s traffic map. Monitor rainfall data, bayou flooding levels, and flooded roads, parks, and low-lying areas at the Harris County Flood Warning System website.
- Build a Kit: During emergencies, you may need to evacuate or hunker down at home for an extended period. Consider building a go-bag and shelter-in-place kit. Don’t panic buy – give yourself time to purchase disaster supplies and prepare your emergency food, water, and medical necessities.
In the aftermath of a storm, many rely on gasoline-powered generators to run their household appliances. But generators can pose a serious safety threat when not used properly, because of the deadly carbon monoxide fumes they create. In fact, generator misuse after a storm has passed is often the cause of more deaths than the actual storms themselves. If you’re in the market for a generator, be sure to look for those that come with an automatic shutoff if carbon monoxide levels rise. And never operate a generator inside your home or in any enclosed space.
In addition to taking these precautionary steps, you must consider the specific needs that older individuals or those with a disability may have and include them in your emergency plan. Think about electricity-dependent equipment and medical-related items. Disasters can unfold in unpredictable ways, and even thoughtful plans may need to adapt fast to evolving circumstances. Review and print this easy-to-use care plan template from the CDC.
For those of us who lived through Hurricane Harvey’s destruction, we know it only takes one storm to devastate a community. And we also know that neighborhoods with no history of flooding are still vulnerable. Nearly 75% of homes that flooded during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 were outside the 100-year floodplain map.
As an agency, we always prepare for the worst-case scenario. Our Flood Rescue Team members respond to flooding events throughout the county and have completed rigorous swift water training at the Flood Rescue Academy in Round Rock. This essential rescue training ensures our deputies can safely and effectively set up and support emergency response and rescue operations during extreme weather events.
We have a growing fleet of rescue vehicles and watercraft for when storms threaten our region and continue to devote more staff and resources to high-water equipment and life-saving training to better ensure the safety of our communities.
This is also a moment to create a support network of nearby loved ones and neighbors on your block. Develop a check-in system and make yourself available to those who may need to lean on you during an emergency.
Stay informed and be ready before a storm hits.