June 2013  

   
Hurricane Season is Here Again!
Get Ready!

Hurricane season has officially started. The season runs from June 1st through November 30th.

Harris County's proximity to the coast makes it vulnerable to tropical storm systems. Residents along Galveston Bay could face storm surges requiring evacuation. Since hurricanes can travel hundreds of miles inland, our entire county might feel the effects of high wind. Planning ahead and stocking up on vital supplies will go a long way in the event of a storm.

The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) urges everyone to get ready for hurricane season now. Prepare an emergency supply kit that includes:

NOAA weather radio and batteries

Flashlight and batteries

Cell phone and charger

Personal hygiene items and extra eye glasses

Bottled water and non-perishable food

Clothing and bedding

First aid kit, medications and prescriptions

Special products for babies, elderly and medically fragile family members

Cash

Photo ID, important documents and records

If you live in an area that is a likely evacuation zone, please discuss evacuation plans with your family and do not stay if you are asked to leave. Familiarize yourself with the Zip Zone Evacuation Map, which is organized by zip code.

Transportation Assistance Registry

Residents living in an evacuation zone who will need help evacuating should dial 2-1-1 to register for transportation. The Transportation Assistance Registry (TAR) is available to the elderly, people with disabilities or special medical conditions, and all others who do not have a vehicle or need a ride away from danger.

Please note, TAR is not just for hurricane evacuation. The 2-1-1 Transportation Assistance Registry is an all-hazards database that will be used for any disaster impacting your residence. It is important to register now!

Registration is free and voluntary, and you may dial 2-1-1, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Your information is used by public safety and transportation agencies only to help match the appropriate assistance for your individual evacuation needs

Have a Plan for Your Pets

The same rules that apply to people apply to pets during an emergency. Never leave your pets behind! Prepare an emergency kit for your pets and a plan on how to care for them when you are on the road or staying at a shelter or motel.

Make sure pets have collars and identification tags, including a cell number where you can be reached if your pet gets lost. Emergency kits should include:

Pet carrier or crate

Leash

Shot records and medications

Food, water and feeding bowls

Waste bags or litter box

Find out ahead of time if there will be any shelters set up to take pets in an emergency. Also, contact motels and hotels in communities outside of your area to find out if they will accept pets.

Shelter-in-place (aka Hunker Down)

If you do not live in an evacuation zone, shelter at home until the storm passes. You will be safer at home than exposed to hazardous weather and dangerous road conditions. You will also help keep the roads clear for emergency workers and people evacuating from storm surge areas. You can always leave after the storm passes and local authorities say it is safe to do so.

If you decide that it is safe to stay following the storm, understand that you may be without electricity, fresh water, and phone service for some time, so make preparation for those circumstances.

Protect Your Property

When a hurricane watch is in effect, the following measures can help prevent or minimize damage to your home or property:

Protect windows, sliding glass doors and skylights with shutters or plywood

Put your car in a garage or other shelter

Secure boats and trailers

Secure outdoor furniture, grills and play equipment

Trim dead or dangerous tree limbs

Move valuables away from windows

Store documents, photographs and other valuables in a high safe place

If you are leaving your home, lock and secure the premises. Take small valuables and important documents with you, including copies of your home inventory and insurance policies.

Your Insurance Coverage

Make sure your homeowner's insurance policy is current and that it provides adequate coverage to pay for the full replacement cost of your property. If you live in an area prone to flooding, tornadoes or hurricanes, your standard homeowner's policy may require additional policies to cover flooding and wind damage. Contact your insurance agent regarding windstorm or flood insurance. Do not wait until the last minute; some policies have a waiting period after the purchase date before coverage takes effect. Get more information about windstorm and flood insurance on the following websites:

Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA)  www.twia.org  

National Flood Insurance Program www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program

Stay Informed

During and following a disaster, cell phones and landline phones may be out of service or congested with calls. When this happens, alternative communication methods may be needed to keep in touch with family and friends and get up-to-date news. In many situations, text messaging has been successful though phone calls were not.

Smart phones and computers can be used to access social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Social media websites can provide a nearly instant update of current events and are a good way to track local news updates.

Television and radio will be important sources of information. Critical information will be broadcast on local channels with updates on the current situation. If your home loses electricity, you can use a battery-powered radio to stay updated.

 

Stay informed through www.readyharris.org and by monitoring the news media. Local officials will provide information about current conditions, evacuations and re-entry.

You can also view hurricane preparedness videos on YouTube and follow HCOHSEM on Facebook and Twitter. For more information and to register for Harris County alerts go to www.readyharris.org

TO THE TOP
VIEW NEWSLETTER ONLINE | VIEW ARCHIVES | SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER | UNSUBSCRIBE | COUNTY JUDGE HOME PAGE