Due to our history of dealing with floods and hurricanes, people in the Houston area know a thing or two when it comes to preparing for a storm.
A basic emergency supply kit, on a budget, includes the following items:
- Water: One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food: At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
- Pet food, leashes, crates, medications
Xtreme Weather also went to a local discount store to find the best deals, and nearly everything on the list was available for purchase.
A 6-pack of dust masks costs $1, a pair of pliers costs $5.75, and a 24-pack of 16.9 oz. water bottles costs $3.95.
For more tips on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit the National Hurricane Center’s website. (OR) Information below:
Know if you live in an evacuation area. Assess your risks and know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Understand National Weather Service forecast products and especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings.Contact your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond.
Keep a list of contact information for reference.
- County Law Enforcement
- Emergency Management Offices
- County Public Safety Fire/Rescue
- State, County and City/Town Government
- Local Hospitals
- Local Utilities
- Local American Red Cross
- Local TV Stations
- Local Radio Stations
- Your Property Insurance Agent
Online hazard and vulnerability assessment tools are available to gather information about your risks.
- Check your hazards risks with FEMA’s Map Portal.
- Rate your flood risk with the FloodSmart.gov portal.
Plan & Take Action
Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. Your friends and family may not be together when disaster strikes. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children or parents are safe? You may have to evacuate or be confined to your home. What will you do if water, gas, electricity or phone services are shut off?
Put together a basic disaster supplies kit and consider storage locations for different situations. Help community members do the same.
Develop and document plans for your specific risks.
- Protect yourself and family with a Family Emergency Plan
- Be sure to plan for locations away from home
- Pet owners should have plans to care for their animals. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention offer information on animal health impacts in evacuation shelters.
- Prepare your boat and be aware of marine safety if you are on or near the water.
Health & Environment
Follow guidelines to guard your community’s health and protect the environment during and after the storm.
- Review the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) health considerations before, during, and after a storm.
- Remember to follow the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) food and water safety guidelines during disasters.
- Review the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggestions for health and environmental safety in disaster preparedness.
- Review the FEMA Evacuation Guidelines to allow for enough time to pack and inform friends and family if you need to leave your home. FOLLOW instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered!
- Consider your protection options to decide whether to stay or evacuate your home if you are not ordered to evacuate.
When waiting out a storm be careful, the danger may not be over yet…
Be alert for:
- Tornadoes – they are often spawned by hurricanes.
- The calm “eye” of the storm – it may seem like the storm is over, but after the eye passes, the winds will change direction and quickly return to hurricane force.
- Wait until an area is declared safe before returning home.
- Remember that recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process.
- FEMA – Are You Ready? Guide
- National Weather Service Weather Safety
- Be a Force of Nature with NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation
- NWS Storm-Ready Sites & Communities
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
- Ready.gov Kids
- American Red Cross