HOUSTON – Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and lasts until November 30th. The City of Houston Office of Emergency Management encourages all Houston residents to be prepared for this year’s hurricane season.
“When Hurricane Ike hit, it caused significant damage, and brought heavy rain, damaging winds and storm surge to the coastal areas,” said Mayor Annise Parker, who serves as the City’s Emergency Management Director, “I cannot stress enough that now is the time to prepare for the next storm. Building an emergency kit, making an emergency plan and having ways to stay informed are key elements in ensuring that we are ready.”
Build a Kit
Having what you need during and after a hurricane is essential to limiting it’s impact on you and your family. Have an emergency kit with non-perishable food, water, and supplies to last your family 5-7 days. Remember, following a storm, it may take a few days for basic services such as running water, electricity and sanitation to be restored, so be prepared to have what you need. For a list of what should be in your emergency kit, download the City of Houston Disaster Preparedness Guide at houstonoem.net.
Make an Emergency Plan
Talk to your family, friends, and colleagues about what you will do if a tropical system impacts the City.
Know whether or not you live in a hurricane evacuation zone. Evacuations will be called by ZIP Code – so know your zone, and know the best route.
If you are unable to evacuate by yourself, or with the help of friends or family, register with the Transportation Assistance Registry either by calling 2-1-1 or signing up online at houstonoem.net.
If you don’t live in an evacuation zone, be prepared to stay. Have a plan to secure your home from damaging winds, including having pre-cut plywood for your windows and an easy way of securing them.
Have a plan to communicate with family during and after the impact of a storm. Remember that telephone lines and cell phone systems may have limited access or may be jammed, so have an out-of-town contact person for each member of your family to check-in with.
Also, know the emergency plans for your workplace, your children’s school. Knowing these plans will help you develop your own.
You can download a sample Family Emergency Plan online at ready.gov.
Stay informed about developing hurricanes by visiting the National Hurricane Center website at hurricanes.gov. Remember, hurricanes can form quickly in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving very little notice before impact.
Have multiple ways of staying informed, even when the power goes out:
Have a battery-powered or hand-crank radio to listen to the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Houston’s primary EAS stations are 740AM KTRH and 88.7FM KUHF.
Purchase a NOAA Weather Alert Radio, available at most electronics retailers to get official messages from the National Weather Service.
Before the storm, stay informed by visiting the OEM website at houstonoem.net and sign up for AlertHouston, the City’s emergency e-mail notification system. If you’re on your mobile device, visit the OEM mobile site at m.houstonoem.net.
Visit HoustonHideFromTheWind.org to find out what anticipated wind speeds will be for your neighborhood. This information is constantly updated before a storm based on the most recent National Hurricane Center forecast.
Follow OEM on Twitter (@HoustonOEM) and Facebook (facebook.com/houstonoem) for updated emergency information
On June 9th from 10:00am – 3:00pm, the City of Houston will be co-sponsoring the National Weather Service Hurricane Workshop at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. This free event provides information and activities for the entire family geared towards helping Houston residents prepare for this year’s hurricane season. For more information on this year’s event, visit hurricaneworkshop.com.
This year, if a storm impacts Houston, be prepared ahead of time. Have what you need, know what to do, and have a way to stay informed.
Michael Walter, Public Information Officer
Office of Emergency Management
5320 N Shepherd Drive
Houston, TX 77091