Ready is a public service campaign from the Department of Homeland Security dedicated to educating Americans on how to prepare for and respond to emergencies. The Ready campaign recognizes September as National Preparedness Month, which promotes family and community disaster planning.
Texas ranks consistently among the states experiencing the most natural disasters, both in frequency and variety. According to a 2019 FEMA report, Texas has had 255 federally declared disasters since 1953. The most common of these were fires, floods and hurricanes. Hurricane Laura caused an estimated $12 billion plus in damage, serving as a reminder of the importance of preparedness.
If you want to improve your family’s level of preparedness, use these tips from Ready.gov and your Better Business Bureau
: • Make a plan. o First, assess which type of disaster or severe weather could affect your area. Remember, as temperatures cool down in Texas, thunderstorms may bring hail and flash flooding. o Establish evacuation and communication plans with your family and take time to practice the plan before disasters occur.
• Build a kit. o An emergency kit can help you and your family survive if roads are closed or electricity is lost after a disaster. Your kit should include basic supplies like non-perishable food, drinking water, battery operated radios, flashlights and a first aid kit. o You should also take specific needs into consideration. This could include items like prescription medications, personal hygiene products, diapers, baby formula and pet food. Be sure to update your kit as needed. o Watch for price gouging, as some sellers may take advantage of disasters and mark up prices on necessities. o Be cautious if you choose to purchase a pre-made disaster kit. These kits may include low quality items for high prices
. • Adapt to the pandemic. o Take COVID-19 into consideration when preparing for a disaster by including face masks for each member of your family in your disaster kit. If possible, include a backup mask for each family member. o Update your evacuation and shelter plans accordingly. Be sure your designated shelter has plenty of room for social distancing
. • Prepare for disasters. o Anticipate ways to decrease potential damage during natural disasters. Removing damaged tree branches and securing loose gutters are small tasks that can have a big impact. o You can also plan ahead by reviewing your insurance policies regularly and assessing trustworthy contractors to repair damages to your home. Knowing who you want to hire before a disaster hits can save you time and stress later. View BBB business profiles to help choose trustworthy professionals in your area.
• Educate your kids. o Be sure your children are familiar with the family evacuation and communication plans, as well as where the disaster kits are stored. o Warn them that “storm chasers” may go house to house offering repair services. Encourage your kids to be cautious when answering the door. o Visit ready.gov/kids for educational tools and games that teach children how to be prepared for emergencies.
For more tips and National Preparedness Month resources, visit Ready.gov.
To find trustworthy contractors and insurance companies near you, visit us at BBB.org.
ABOUT BBB®: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2019, people turned to BBB more than 183 million times for BBB Business Profiles on nearly 5.8 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The International Association of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. BBB Serving the Heart of Texas serves 105 counties in Austin, Bryan, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, Permian Basin, San Antonio and Waco.