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How to prepare for an emergency

By Angela Williams

Many of us are still processing the past year, with a pandemic, a hurricane and a week-long winter storm.

While it is always possible that Mother Nature could give us a break, recent wet weather has showed us that it is unlikely. We’ve already had tornadoes and flash flooding events this spring, and the 2021 hurricane season has arrived.

Preparing for Hurricane Season

According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Service, this season is expected to be an active one in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. This year, the likely range is 13 to 20 named storms, with up to five major hurricanes.

There is value in being prepared. As we learned from February’s winter storm, planning for every contingency helps us manage a crisis.

Make a Family Preparedness Plan

Get started today by creating a personal and family preparedness plan. As we saw in February, it’s possible that you may not be able to reach work safely for your scheduled shifts. Or, your coworkers may be unable to make it to their shift because of bad weather. You may be asked to work longer hours on short notice in response to a hurricane or other severe weather incident.

Know who can help you with your day-to-day life routines, such as childcare, pets or helping family members. Research Ready.gov or ReadySouthTexas.gov. Both can help in developing your personal and family preparedness plans.

Get Mobile Alerts

One of the best ways to stay up-to-date on severe weather events is to sign up for text alerts from Ready South Texas. The City of San Antonio developed the AlertSA Program to keep its citizens abreast of developing emergency situations. This system can contact you via home phone, cell phone, text and email.

If City or local Public Safety Officials require residents in your area to evacuate, for example, you will receive a notification via text, email or phone call.

Build Your Emergency Kit

Ready South Texas outlines all of the essentials you should pack in your family’s emergency kit. This kit should include everything you may need to survive on your own for 72 hours without help from first responders.

  • The necessities include:
  • One gallon of water per day, per person
  • Non-perishable food for three days that doesn’t require heat or water to prepare
  • Cash
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Basic first aid supplies (sterile dressings, antibiotic ointment, prescription medications)

Depending on who else is in your immediate family, like an elderly adult or a newborn, you may need to pack extra supplies. Find the full list of supplies you might need at ReadySouthTexas.gov.

Plan Ahead, Stay Safe

If you know a weather event is coming, you should:

  • Closely track weather conditions. The National Hurricane Center offers detailed information. Watch local news to track conditions in the San Antonio area. The local National Weather Service also is a useful resource. Weather reports could change significantly, so please stay up-to-date.
  • Use precautions while traveling. Turn around, don’t drown.
  • Check your property. Secure loose items if high winds are expected. Remove any trees or brush that could be fuel during wildfire season.
  • Make emergency plans if you live in an area prone to flooding.
  • Build your emergency kit. It should include food, water, medications and prescriptions, important family documents, solar-powered chargers, flashlights, hand sanitizer and more.
  • Be sure you have medical records available, medication and prescriptions, and other items, such as flashlights and solar chargers for phones.
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