June 2010  


Hurricane Season is Here

Get Prepared
Hurricane season runs from June 1 – November 30, and the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (OHSEM) wants you to be prepared. OHSEM has valuable information available on its website about preparing for hurricanes, tropical storms, high winds, storm surge and flooding. Everyone is urged to start preparing early by creating a kit, making a plan and staying informed throughout hurricane season. Make sure you have enough food, water, medication and other essential supplies for a week.
Your emergency kit should include:
  NOAA weather radio and batteries
  Flashlight and batteries
  Extra eye glasses
  Bottled water
  Non-perishable food
  Copies of prescriptions
  Special products for babies, elderly and medically fragile family members
  Cash and credit cards
If you live in an area threatened by storm surge – an evacuation zone – discuss and practice evacuation plans with your family. Make a checklist of preparations to be made before an evacuation and review it when a storm is in the Gulf of Mexico. If you plan to stay in a hotel, make reservations and confirm your reservations before you leave. If you plan to stay in a shelter, bring what you need to be comfortable, including bedding and toys for kids.
Residents living in an evacuation zone who require special assistance to evacuate during a storm should dial 2-1-1 to register for a ride. This includes the elderly, people with disabilities or special medical conditions, or those who simply need transportation. The Special Transportation Registry is open year-round for registration. Be sure to register before an evacuation is called.
To find out if your home is in an evacuation zone, check with county or city officials, or click here to view the zip code-based evacuation map located on the OHSEM website.
Prepare your Home

Now is the time to prepare your home and make it safe from the potential damages of a hurricane. To keep fierce winds from entering your home and blowing out doors and windows, have plywood already cut or invest in shutters to cover windows. Reinforce the garage door and check the roof for loose shingles, which can be made more secure by re-nailing.

Trim dead or dangerous tree limbs to keep them from falling on your house. Once it has been determined that a hurricane is heading in our direction, be sure to bolt down, chain, or remove items like play equipment, barbecue grills, and potted plants to prevent them from becoming missiles.

Protect Pets and Livestock

Whether you evacuate or shelter in place, you should create a plan to ensure the safety of your pets and livestock. Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with current identification in the event they become lost or separated from you. Have your name and address on the tag along with your cell phone number.

If you evacuate, take your pets with you. You will need a carrier or crate large enough for them to turn around and lie down. You should also take a leash, collar and muzzle for your dogs. Prepare an emergency kit for them that includes their veterinary records, medicine, food, water, bowls for the food and water, toys and plastic bags for their waste. If your pet is a cat, be sure to pack cat litter, a litter box (that fits into the cat carrier) and a litter scoop.

If you decide to shelter in place, bring your pets indoors and keep them in an interior, safe room away from windows. During the hurricane, you may want to keep them in their carriers or crates. After the hurricane has passed, be sure to check your yard and fences carefully before letting your pets out. Damaged fences and downed power lines can lead to lost or injured pets.

When evacuating livestock in trailers, plan your route and confirm reservations before you leave home. Be sure to allow plenty of time for travel and evacuate in the cooler hours of the day. If you have livestock that you are not evacuating, move them to high ground. Do not leave them in an enclosed barn or other structure. Check your pastures and make sure they are securely fenced and cleared of any debris or building materials that may become airborne. Your emergency contact information should be posted in a watertight container on all gates.

Disruption of regular routines is stressful for people and animals. You may notice behavior changes, loss of appetite, unusual aggression or fear in your pets and/or livestock. If problems persist after the hurricane, contact your veterinarian. For more information on protecting your pets and livestock, visit the Harris County Disaster Animal Management Task Force website at www.damtaskforce.com.

For additional information on hurricane preparedness, you can view the 2010 OHSEM hurricane brochure at http://www.hcoem.org/Documents/Hurricanebrochure.pdf or visit the Texas Department of Public Safety’s website at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/pages/publicinformation.htm.