TEXAS CITY, Texas -- September is National Preparedness Month. Significantly for many Texans, it also is the month Hurricane Ike crashed ashore on the upper Gulf Coast a year ago. With Texas at the height of another hurricane season, there is no time like the present for citizens throughout the state to get ready for the next hazardous event, say the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM).
Hurricanes -- which can include high winds, storm surge, flooding and even tornadoes -- are the greatest weather threat in Texas, and the effects can be felt well inland of a storm's landfall. Emergency preparedness, however, means being prepared for any hazard, regardless of its form.
"With Hurricane Ike there was only a small window of time for Texans to prepare, and the people and communities along the Gulf Coast and in neighboring areas suffered tremendously," said Brad Harris, federal coordinating officer for the Ike recovery effort. "Some hazards, including flash floods, fires and tornadoes, cannot be anticipated. It's vital to be ready for all types of hazards well in advance."
As National Preparedness Month gets under way, FEMA and TDEM, partners in the Hurricane Ike recovery effort, are urging Texans to think beyond flashlights, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and batteries, and take the steps necessary to be fully prepared for any natural or man-made disaster.
"Texans have always been resilient and resourceful," said State Coordinating Officer Ben Patterson. "Having a family preparedness plan and emergency supply kit ready can serve them well in any disaster or emergency situation."
FEMA and TDEM are among thousands of federal, state and local agencies and organizations working to develop a culture of preparedness in the United States. The goal is to develop a culture in which all Americans understand their vital role on the national emergency response team and embrace the concept of readiness in a new way.
"It's important for citizens to ask themselves if they really want to be in crisis mode when an emergency occurs, frantic about where there loved ones and pets are, about where to go and what to take, and concerned about what will happen to their home and property," said Harris.
For information and step-by-step assistance on getting prepared for any emergency, visit the Ready Campaign's Web sites and others listed below.
National Preparedness Month: www.ready.gov/america/npm09/index.html
Texas Prepares: www.texasprepares.org
Department of Homeland Security's Ready Campaign: www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov in Spanish
Ready Kids: www.ready.gov/kids
National Flood Insurance Program: www.floodsmart.gov
American Red Cross: www.prepare.org/basic/basic.htm
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.