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Don’t let an emergency catch you off guard
May 27, 2014

Don’t let an emergency catch you off guard

BBB offers advice on preparing for severe weather for National Hurricane Preparedness Week

In Texas, summer doesn’t just mean it’s time for vacations, it also brings hurricanes and the potential for severe storms. Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes, and rip currents. Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin urges families to prepare for the unexpected and devise their own emergency preparedness plans.  It’s important to assess and prepare for their local disaster risks and unplanned emergencies.

There are two things every family should do to prepare for any kind of disaster.

  1. Make a plan. Discuss with family and friends how you’ll contact each other, where you’ll meet if you can’t go home and what you’ll do in specific situations like a tornado or fire.
  2. Prepare an emergency kit. If disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water or electricity. A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended 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 charge

Families may also want to consider including such items as prescription medications, infant formula and diapers, pet food and cash. Remember to check your supplies every few months and replace expired items.Other things to keep in mind when preparing:

  • Catalogue your valuables. Take pictures of your valuables and place them in a safe. This can help the insurance company assess the dollar amount for your losses.
  • Protect important documents. Place copies of important family documents such as birth certificates, passports, insurance policies and photos in a waterproof, portable container near your escape route.
  • Start with trust. Whether you’re shopping for insurance before a disaster strikes or looking for a company to clean damaged areas, remove debris, or help rebuild, check the company’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org first.
  • Know where to turn.Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have many resources available to help families prepare for what to do before, during and after disasters happen.