What is the importance of preparedness and having a personal safety plan? Just ask an uninsured flood victim about the value of preparedness. Taking time to learn about the hazards of your area can be life-saving! Having a preparedness plan and knowing how to respond to those hazards can both protect you and your family and reduce losses and damage to your property. The biggest obstacle to preparedness is knowing where to start. Where do you begin when becoming more prepared for a disaster or emergency? What should you consider?
Step 1: Know Your Hazards
In order to be prepared, you must first know what hazards can affect you. The Heart of Texas region is susceptible to a number of different hazards. These hazards range from severe weather to hazardous materials and man-made threats. HOTReady.com contains an entire section dedicated to helping you understand the hazards you face within the region. Ask neighbors and local officials about hazards that you may face and how to be prepared for them. You may live near a chemical storage facility or an underground pipeline. Knowing what hazards could affect you will help you to plan accordingly.
- Local or county officials
- HOTReady Know Your Hazards page
Step 2: Be Aware of Existing Plans
To better understand what you should and shouldn’t do during an emergency or disaster, you should be aware of what is contained within existing plans. Each city within the HOTCOG region participate in an Emergency Management Plan. Plans also exist within the region that detail mass fatality response, communications, and response to catastrophic incidents. Many workplaces have emergency plans and procedures to better protect the employees and clients. School districts even have plans! While some organizations may not release their plans to the public due to the sensitive information that they contain, most are willing to answer questions and discuss safety procedures with you. Ask about emergency plans and procedures that exist in places that you visit often, including schools, workplaces, and childcare centers.
There are a number of additional resources that can help you to create a preparedness plan and better understand the hazards from which you are at risk.
- National Weather Service, Southern Region Headquarters
- Local emergency management offices
- Local fire departments
- Local police departments
- Local Red Cross units
- Area churches
- Neighborhood groups and Neighborhood Watches
- The Heart of Texas Council of Governments
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Department of Homeland Security
- National Ready Campaign