Disaster Preparedness

Living in Southeast Texas, you’re likely to encounter severe storms, drought, flooding, and even wildfires. Any number of other disasters, whether natural or manmade, can cause you to leave your home or be confined to it for several days at a time. Being prepared is more than half the battle when it comes to these types of unfortunate events.

Be ready at home with a first aid kit, flashlights, and a stockpile of batteries and fresh water. In addition to these basic items, other necessities to have on hand include: box or can food and can opener; extra cell phone batteries; zip-close baggies and wet wipes; plastic sheets or a tarp and duct tape. Since it is almost always hot in north Houston, a battery powered fan is also a good investment.

Have a plan in place to evacuate your home if necessary. Figure out friends or family in driving distance that you could stay with, or scope out hotels online and choose one in advance. Keeping in mind that you might not have access to cellular or internet services during a disaster, print out directions to these locations and place in your vehicle’s glove box. Keep a full can of gas in reserve as well.

If you have pets, be sure to consider their comfort and safety in your planning. Keep extra pet food and stock water for them, too. Place a pet rescue alert sticker near your home’s front door so first responders will know to look for them in the event of a house fire or other home emergency. If you have to evacuate, take your pets with you and check ahead to see if shelters will allow your pets inside. If not, make a plan to drop them off at an emergency pet shelter until you can safely return and retrieve them.

Practice evacuating your home, especially if you have children. Point out the safest and shortest exit route from their bedrooms and include an alternative if that route is blocked. Place a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and another in an upstairs common area. Plan your meet up location and walk there with your kids in both daylight and at night – be very specific about the spot.

Being prepared in advance, not trying to scramble during a tragedy, is key to your safety and comfort during any time of distress.