Hurricane Preparedness

I realize that the Northern Hurricane Season begins in June (June 1 – November 30). That’s no reason to think of the following information as being late or untimely. If it reaches just one person in a helpful way, it’s worth it.

Being prepared for hurricane season is no laughing matter. Whether you wind up riding a storm out (done that) or evacuating (done that, too), having an advance plan and supplies can be a life saver. Check evacuation routes from your location (Texas) well in advance of needing them, and compile an emergency kit. If you already have an emergency kit, be sure install fresh batteries and replace any outdated supplies.

KHOU offers a lot of useful information to Gulf Coast communities. Storm tracking charts and preparedness guides in print, as well as on their website. There is also a pet preparedness guide available. This is more of a pre-planning thing, as once the power goes out, there might not be a whole lot of online time. The information in these guides are handy no mater where you live.

People with disabilities or other medical needs will want to register with the Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR). If you are not in Texas, please check with your state for a similar office. You must register in advance, not the night before the storm hits. They will be able to help with transportation in times of emergency evacuation.

Additional information on emergency preparedness is available from FEMA, the Red Cross, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

As someone who rode out Rita in Houston, but bugged out to College Station for Ike (my son was literally fresh out of the hospital), I can say that a hurricane is an awesome force and not something to be trifled with. Staying hunkered down during a Cat 1 is a very dangerous proposition, no matter how much experience you may have. Staying hunkered down for a Cat 4 or 5 storm is literally taking your life into your own hands. If you have children, pets or elderly folks dependent on you, take the time and effort to know what’s at risk and what steps you can take for their safety as well as your own.

–Ann Cathey

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