May 23, 2023 - The 2023 Hurricane Season officially begins June 1, and the Texas Department of State Health Services urges all Texans to prepare now before any Gulf storm threatens our state. The first step is to make a plan.
“Hurricane season is fast approaching, so now is a great time to make sure that your family has an up-to-date plan,” said DSHS Commissioner Jennifer Shuford, MD, MPH. “Every family has its own unique needs that change over time. That is why it is important that every family or household make their own severe weather plan and know it well.”
Easy-to-follow preparation guidelines can be found in English at texasready.gov and in Spanish at texasready.gov/index-es. When developing a plan, include family members and discuss key issues around a future emergency. Talk about how you’ll receive emergency alerts and develop both evacuation and sheltering-in-place plans. Your family should have a communication plan, as well, in the event members are separated during the emergency, and your family’s emergency preparedness kit or go bag should be up to date and ready to use.
Be familiar with evacuation routes before an order to evacuate is made. Also, be aware of the hazards of walking or driving a vehicle through flood waters encountered during an evacuation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. Remember ... turn around don’t drown.
If sheltering in place, have a list of emergency contacts, and be aware of elderly neighbors and people with disabilities in your neighborhood who may need your help. Account for the dietary requirements of family members and pets, medication needs including prescriptions and equipment, as well as language barriers relatives and friends may encounter during an emergency.
Protecting and preserving essential documents, like drivers’ licenses, passports, insurance policies, health cards and prescriptions, is vital. Store these in a waterproof bag.
It’s critical to stay up to date on news and emergency directives during a hurricane or other natural disaster. A battery-operated radio, with plenty of fresh batteries on hand, can keep you in touch with emergency management recommendations if power is cut and access to television or the internet is interrupted.