June 2012  


Hurricane Season is here and runs through November 30th. Meteorologists expect this year’s hurricane season to produce an average number of storms.

Already, the Atlantic season got off to an early start this year with the formation of Tropical Storms Alberto and Beryl in May. These storms are a reminder to not let our guard down. Just one major storm could devastate our region. Tropical Storm Alberto
Tropical Storm Alberto
Credit: NASA/Goddard MODIS
Rapid Response Team
Get Prepared

 Every year, the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) urges residents to prepare in advance for hurricane season. 

HCOHSEM recommends that you develop a family emergency plan, put a disaster supply kit together and stay informed.

Your supply kit should include:
NOAA weather radio and batteries
Flashlight and batteries
Extra eye glasses
Bottled water
Non-perishable food
Clothing and bedding
First aid kit, medications and prescriptions
Special products for babies, elderly and medically fragile family members
Cash and credit cards
Photo ID, important documents and records

If you live in an evacuation zone or an area threatened by storm surge, discuss evacuation plans with your family and don’t stay if you are asked to leave.  Check with county or city officials to find out if your home is in an evacuation zone or look on the Zip Zone Evacuation Map to see if your zip code is in an evacuation area.  If an evacuation is called, you will need to know if your home is in one of the zones that are being evacuated. 

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 today to register for a ride.  This includes the elderly, people with disabilities or special medical conditions, or those who simply need transportation.  The Transportation Assistance Registry is open year-round for registration.  Be sure to register before an evacuation is called. 

Make Plans for your Pets

Prepare an emergency kit for your pets and a plan on how to care for them.  Do not leave your pets behind.  Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with current identification in the event they become separated from you.  Have your name and address on the tag along with your cell phone number. 

Make Plans for your Pets 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.

Shelter in Place

If you don’t live in an evacuation zone, shelter at home until the storm passes.  Sheltering in place is often the safest course of action for individuals who are not in a storm surge area.  Due to hazardous weather and road conditions, you will be safer at home than on the road.  You will also help keep the roads clear for emergency workers and for those who may need to evacuate due to the danger of surge in their area.

After the storm passes and local authorities say it is safe to leave, you can decide whether to stay or go.  If you decide to stay, it is important that you have enough water, food, medication and other essentials to last you up to a week.  Remember that a battery-operated radio will help keep you informed if the power goes out.   

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.

Finally, stay informed through ReadyHarris.org and by monitoring the news media.  Local officials will provide information about current conditions, evacuations and re-entry. 

You can now view hurricane preparedness videos on YouTube and follow HCOHSEM on Facebook and Twitter.

Become a Disaster Buddy for a Meals on Wheels Senior
Disaster Buddy Program

Many Meals on Wheels clients are not adequately prepared for emergencies, and most are socially isolated from friends and family.  Interfaith Ministries (IM) serves more than 4,500 seniors throughout Harris County.  You can help these senior citizens by becoming a “Disaster Buddy Volunteer.”

Disaster Buddies help prepare IM’s seniors in the Meals on Wheels for Greater Houston program for disasters and serious weather events.  Disaster Buddies will:

  • Help clients prepare a disaster kit for their home
  • Visit clients before and after a disaster or weather event
  • Assist clients with the evacuation Transportation Assistance Registry
  • Maintain quarterly contact with clients
Interfaith Ministries offers Disaster Buddy Training for:
  • CERT teams
  • Congregations
  • Corporations
  • Individuals

Trainings will be held at 3217 Montrose Blvd. on

  • Thursday, June 21, at 6:15 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 23, at 9:30 a.m.

Want to be a Disaster Buddy?  Click here to fill out a volunteer application.  To host a training or for more information, please contact Jennifer Posten at jposten@imgh.org or 713-533-4909.