Central Texas residents encouraged to be prepared in case of emergency

Wesley Story

Central Texas residents need to take precautionary action in order to be prepared in the case of an emergency, Travis County and Austin officials said in a press release to mark Emergency Preparedness Month.

Travis County Emergency Services and Austin Homeland Security and Emergency Management sent out a combined press release on Sept. 1 which focused on increased situational awareness and actively staying informed, so that in the event of an emergency, citizens will not be caught off guard. In the press release, residents were also asked to register their phones on WarnCentralTexas.org for emergency warnings.

“Our goal for Central Texas is to make people aware of the fact that they need to be prepared,” said Angel Flores, public information specialist for the Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “We always want to make sure people are ready for the next crisis or emergency, because it will happen — it’s just a matter of when.”

The most common natural hazards in Central Texas are flooding and wildfires, according to the press release. 

The City of Austin asks citizens to monitor the weather during storms due to the likelihood of extreme flash flooding. 

There are a variety of weather apps available for smartphones to help track weather conditions.

“During an emergency you won’t know how to act or respond in the best way possible, so if you have a plan ahead of time, you’ll know exactly what to do,” nutrition senior Carla Cos said.

The release also stresses the importance of having a disaster supply kit. It suggests the kit include non-perishable food, one gallon of water per day per person, prescription medication and other supplies, such as flashlights, batteries and a first-aid kit.

“Having a preparedness kit ready to go if you need to evacuate is critical, because you may not have the time to get what you need, especially when it comes to important paperwork such as insurance, birth certificates or even special photos,” said Stacy Moore-Guajardo, emergency management coordinator for Travis County.

Central Texas residents should develop an emergency communications plan with family and friends, not only for Emergency Preparedness Month but also in case of emergencies throughout the entire year, according to the release. 

“While September was the chosen month by the Federal Emergency Management Agency because of the tragic September 11, 2001 as well as the peak of hurricane season, it is important for our citizens to be prepared all months out of the year,” Moore-Guajardo said.