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Preparing for Disaster: Have a Plan and Make a Kit

Release date: 
September 8, 2008
Release Number: 

AUSTIN, Texas -- Are you and your family ready for the next big storm?

Thousands of Texans had to evacuate from the Gulf Coast ahead of Hurricane Gustav, and many more hunkered down in place. More storms are on the horizon, and at least one of them could be headed this way. Remember: The official hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. That means we have almost three more months of possible severe weather.

Taking a few simple precautions could make a huge difference in how you and your loved ones make it through a disaster.

There are two critical things to do to prepare: Have a Plan and Make a Kit.

Based on advice from the National Hurricane Center, the Texas Governor?s Division of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, here are two important lists:


  • When local officials call for an evacuation, get out without delay: Don?t wait ? evacuate!
  • Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.
  • Make sure you and your family members have the name and phone number of a friend or relative outside your city or state -- so anyone who becomes separated from the group can telephone to let others know their situation.
  • Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact.
  • Discuss your evacuation plans with your family, friends and relatives, and remind everyone of the plan as the storm moves in.
  • Make a checklist of what you need to do and review it before you leave.
  • If you plan to stay in a hotel or motel, make reservations and confirm your reservations before you leave.
  • Learn evacuation routes from your area. Some traffic congestion is inevitable so expect delays and longer drive-times than usual.
  • Learn the places to stay between your home and your destination ? in case you have to stop before you reach your goal.
  • Make plans for what you are going to do with pets and livestock.

Plan for your supplies to last three to seven days, and put them in easy-to-carry containers. And make sure your vehicle has a full gas tank.

Your supplies should include:

  • Water ? one gallon daily per person;
  • Food
    • packaged or canned food / juices
    • foods for infants or the elderly
    • snack foods
    • non-electric can opener
    • cooking tools / fuel
    • paper plates / plastic utensils;
  • Cash, including small bills;
  • Clothing, including rain gear and sturdy shoes;
  • First-aid kit, including medications, eyeglasses, and hearing aids;
  • Fully charged telephones with chargers and extra batteries;
  • Phone numbers of family and friends;
  • Personal hygiene items, including toilet paper, cleanup supplies, personal hygiene products, and special items for babies, the elderly and pets;
  • Copies of important documents, including photo IDs, driver license, proof of residence, account numbers, information you may need to process insurance claims ? placed in a waterproof container;
  • Battery-operated radio and flashlight, with extra batteries;
  • Road maps, a list of places between your town and your destination where you can stop if the highways are clogged;
  • Blankets, pillows, sleeping bags and extra clothing;
  • Supplies for pets, including food, leashes and carry cases.

For more information on how to prepare for a hurricane, visit the following Web sites:

Texas Governor?s Division of Emergency Management:

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:29