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DATE: April 4, 2012 9:54:30 AM CDT

Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed

These are the three steps you and your family can take to become more disaster prepared.  Having a well-stocked emergency kit, making a family communications & emergency plan and having ways to stay informed during and after disasters are key to making you a disaster survivor, rather than a disaster victim.

Get a Kit

Having an emergency preparedness kit helps you be self-sufficient during disasters, when many basic services are unavailable. Be sure to have these basic supplies, making kits for your home, office and vehicle:

  • For everyone:
    • Water, one gallon/person/day for up to 5 days
    • Food, at least three days of non-perishable food
    • Battery-powered or hand crank radio with NOAA Weather Radio channels
    • Sturdy flashlight with extra batteries
    • Cell phones with vehicle or solar chargers
    • First Aid Kit
    • Whistle to signal for help
    • Dust mask (N-95) to filter contaminated air, and plastic sheeting with duct tape in case you have to shelter-in-place
    • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
    • Manual can opener
    • A local map
    • Important documents
    • Cash (ATMS need electricity and internet/phone connections)
    • Personal hygiene items such as feminine napkins
    • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for sanitation
    • Sleeping bag or blanket for each person
    • Change of clothes
    • Fire extinguisher
    • Matches
  • For Children
    • Books, games or puzzles for children
    • Medications and glasses
    • Infant formula and diapers
    • Bottles
    • Powdered milk
    • Diaper ointment
    • Paper, pencils, and crayons
  • For Pets
    • Pet supplies
    • Pet food and extra water
  • For Adults
    • Denture needs
    • Contact lenses and supplies
    • Extra glasses

Make a Plan

Making a plan ensures that your family all knows exactly what to do when emergencies occur.  Emergencies can strike at any time, and you may not necessarily be with your family, or at home.

Be sure to include these in your plan:

  • Meeting places
    • one near your home
    • one far from your home, in case you cannot return home or have to evacuate
  • An Out-of-Town contact person - this way you all can check-in with that person if cell phone towers are jammed.

 Plan to evacuate

    • Plan where you will go -   Choose a location, such as a family member or friend's home, and make sure everyone knows thats where you will be going
    • Plan what to take - Make a plan for the items you will take with you.  Don't forget to include your emergency kit.
    • Plan how you will get there - Which roads will you take to get there? Do you have an alternate route to get there?
    • Plan for your pets - Do you have carriers or leashes for each pet?  Will your designated evacuation location take pets?
    • Practice your plan at least twice a year.
    • If you cannot evacuate yourself, check with neighbors or family to see if they can help you evacuate, if they can't you can register for Transportation Assistance through the City by calling 211 or registering online at
  • Plan to stay
    • Have a plan for where you will ride out severe weather (like severe thunderstorms and hurricanes)
    • Know what your family will do if they are away from home.
    • Have your supply kit ready to go.
    • Have a way to stay informed during and after emergencies.

Be Informed

  •  The National Weather Service's NOAA Weather Radio
    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA)  National Weather Service (NWS) operates an all-hazards radio station that can be picked up by special weather radio receivers that can keep you informed during severe weather, and other emergency situations.  Visit this website for more information on NOAA Weather Radio and visit your local electronics retailer to purchase a radio capable of picking up NOAA signals.
  • Local Media
    During emergencies, officials will provide local media with information on the current status of the emergency, as well as what residents can do to protect themselves from the hazard.  In Houston, there are two Emergency Alert System radio stations which will immediately broadcast emergency messages throughout the city. These are KTRH 740AM and KUHF 88.7FM.
  • AlertHouston
    AlertHouston is a program offered by the Office of Emergency Management to stay informed during disasters.  In emergencies, residents will receive e-mails with information on the hazard, as well as what they can do to avoid being severely impacted. E-mail with your name and Zip Code to sign up.




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