More than a full week before the official start of hurricane season the Houston area already has a “disturbance” to track in the Gulf. It’s a start reminder that Houstonians need to be ready for inclement weather, and extreme weather events, no matter what the date reads.
Are you prepared for hurricane season? Here are a few steps recommended by Houston’s Office of Emergency Management.
Determine Your Risk
The threats from hurricanes can vary a lot depending on where you live. It’s not just those who live in coastal and low-lying areas that can experience significant, life-threatening impacts. You need to evaluate what to do to protect your home and family now, before the first storm of the season even forms… or (in our case) while it’s threatening to form.
Develop an Evacuation Plan
Make sure you have a hurricane evacuation plan for you and your loved ones. Figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. Identify a friend or relative who doesn’t live in an evacuation zone or unsafe home, and coordinate with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. Put the plan in writing and share it with your family.
Assemble Disaster Supplies
Your hurricane preparation kit should have supplies to see you through the hurricane itself and (if possible) through the recovery period in case your area is impacted severely.
Make a list of supplies and assemble them before you need them, preferably before the hurricane season begins. Your supplies should be stored in airtight plastic bags, with your entire kit placed in one or two easy-to-carry containers (such as duffel bags, backpacks, or plastic bins). Things to include:
- Enough non-perishable food and water to last each person in your family for at least one week
- Medicines and prescriptions
- Radio, batteries, phone chargers (consider solar-powered options too)
- Extra cash, since credit card machines may be down
- A full tank of gas
Get Your Home Ready
Even if you’re not planning to “hunker down” in your home during a hurricane, you’ll want to take a few small steps to make sure you can minimize the damage as much as possible:
- Cover windows
- Trim trees to remove branches that are hanging over your house or even remove trees that might fall on your house
- Secure loose outdoor items, including barbecues and furniture
- Secure all your doors
- Move your vehicle to a safe location
Help your Neighbors
And, most importantly, help your neighbors before and after the hurricane hits. Check on them to make sure they’re OK. Ask if they need help. Be nice.
Good luck to us all!
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Suggested reading, links, and resources: