As hurricane season begins, the head of the Disaster Assessment and Recovery, DAR, unit of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is asking Texans to stay aware, prepare and practice a disaster plan, and gather important supplies.

“June 1 is the official start of hurricane season.” said Monty Dozier, Ph.D., program director for DAR. “The severe weather we have already experienced throughout the state this year should serve as a wake-up call, especially for those in our coastal communities, to start planning for hurricane season.”

Hurricane preparation, recovery resources available

A car stranded in flood waters covering a rural road.
June 1 marks the start of hurricane season and a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Disaster Assessment and Recovery unit leader says Texans need to be prepared. (Michael Miller/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Dozier said objective, science-based information on disaster and emergency preparedness can be found on the DAR website. The site serves as a comprehensive resource for disaster preparation and recovery information from AgriLife Extension and other Texas A&M AgriLife experts, as well as experts from state and federal agencies and throughout the national land-grant system.

More disaster preparation and recovery materials are available in English and Spanish on the AgriLife Learn website. The information is free or at minimal cost and is also available in e-book format for mobile devices.  

Some of the most popular AgriLife Extension preparation and recovery publications include:

 — Texans, Get Ready! This publication addresses how to protect yourself and your household by making a disaster plan and making necessary preparations. It shows how to sustain a household for all members without outside help for at least three days. Special considerations include keeping food safe to eat and shelter-in-place options.

Farmers and Ranchers, Get Ready! This publication shows how to protect your farm and/or ranch operation before, during and after a disaster. It shows agricultural producers how to prepare for weather-related and other emergencies by creating a disaster plan that will help preserve life and property and minimize recovery time.

After a Disaster Guidebook: This disaster recovery guide provides useful information on the steps individuals, families and businesses can take to recover from a disaster — and how to adjust, cope and remain safe.

“All these resources will be of great help in preparing for and recovering from a disaster, whether it be flooding, a hurricane, fire or other disaster,” Dozier said. “They are full of tips that can be used in disaster plans for any household or ag operation.”    

Hurricane preparedness through planning and practice 

Dozier said the most important step in family disaster preparation is to develop and practice an emergency plan that accounts for any specific or special needs that may arise.

“Some of those specific or special needs might include making provisions for small children, those who are disabled or require medication, as well as seniors or family pets,” he said. “These plans help everyone be aware of what to do, where to go and how to respond if there’s a hurricane.”

Dozier recommends keeping a contact card with the name, address, phone and email for each family member and having everyone keep a copy of it in their wallet, purse, backpack or vehicle glove compartment. This contact list could also identify a list of hotels or motels that accept pets or would waive a no-pets policy in an emergency, as well other important phone numbers and addresses.

Grab-and-go kits to help you through

Dozier said an important element of hurricane planning is to prepare a grab-and-go survival kit for your home, office and each vehicle.

“This emergency kit should contain enough supplies to take care of immediate family members for at least three days,” he said. “Some essential kit contents include bottled water, non-perishable foods, a hand-operated can opener, mouth/nose protection masks, extra clothing, a first-aid kit, gloves, blankets, toiletries, battery- or hand-powered flashlight, weather radio, spare batteries, garbage bags, medications and anti-bacterial cleaners or wipes.”

He said hurricane planning should also include putting together a grab-and-go box containing important personal and family documents and financial records.

“While disaster preparation takes time and requires forethought and commitment, having a plan and necessary emergency supplies ready will help make what is bound to be a traumatic and stressful situation a lot more manageable,” he said.

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