Families should make a plan and build a seven-day emergency kit
Following the announcement of a Winter Weather Watch for Austin for later this week, the City of Austin is sharing information on how households can best prepare for an emergency, whether it’s a winter storm, flood, wildfire, hurricane or any other events that may involve power or water outages, or requests for families to shelter in place.
Ensuring households are prepared to protect themselves and their loved ones is the best way to have a big impact on the community’s safety and recovery in a crisis.
As part of the City’s Ready Central Texas campaign, households are being urged to keep enough critical supplies and resources at home to be self-sufficient for seven days.
“Preparing for disasters is an essential activity for everyone,” said Juan Ortiz, Director for the City of Austin’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “Preparing does not have to happen all at once. Take simple steps to acquire and identify supplies you and your family currently own and will need during a disaster. If you need to purchase things, you can do that over time. We need as many people to prepare as possible so the City of Austin can help those who cannot prepare.”
Make a Plan
Families should discuss how they will respond, stay informed, and contact one another during emergency situations where key services like electricity, water, or first responders may not be readily available. Once an initial plan has been created, families should make it a point to discuss the plan at least once a year and make updates as needed.
A family emergency plan should include identifying responsibilities for each member of a household, designating a place to meet if family members are separated, and creating a plan to contact each another if you are unable to meet or get separated during a crisis. Identify an out-of-area contact to communicate that you are safe and to learn the status of other family members and keep public safety phone numbers in a place where you can easily find them.
Build an Emergency Kit
Having basic supplies on hand can make a disaster less stressful, and in some cases, make the difference between life and death. People should be equipped with the proper supplies needed in the event of an emergency or disaster. Keep the supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that can used at home or during an evacuation. Assemble an emergency supply kit with enough supplies for everyone in the household for seven days.
Make sure to include pets when assembling the kits supplies.
Start with the basics and add to the kit as you are able. Make a list and understand the unique needs of family members and take those into account when building your kit.
An example of a starter kit is below and versions in other languages are available here
Know your Neighbors
Neighbors helping neighbors enhances community resilience and ensures emergency resources will reach those in the greatest need. Helping a neighbor could be one less emergency call and help reduce the strain on emergency services. This is a critical component to increasing Austin’s overall disaster preparedness.
Know where to get reliable information during an emergency. In a disaster, unreliable websites and social media may have incorrect, out of date, or even false information. It’s important to know ahead of time where to get critical updates about what is going on in the community
Links for reliable sources to stay informed when disaster strikes:
- Download the Ready Central Texas phone application for iPhone or Android
- Sign up for Warn Central Texas to receive neighborhood alerts that will advise your particular area on when immediate action needs to be taken to stay safe.
- Sign up for emergency alerts in American Sign Language, English voice, and text for people who are Deaf, Blind, hard of hearing or Deaf and Blind OR by texting AHAS to (737) 241-3710
- Bookmark AustinTexas.gov/Alerts. This page will post key updates throughout an emergency and during recovery.
- Go to the National Weather Service for weather updates.
- Follow local news media
- Follow the City of Austin and other public safety agencies on social media
Emergency Preparedness Resources
Cold Weather Tips from Austin Water
Austin Water urges customers to take steps now to prepare for freezing temperatures. While Austinites often enjoy mild winters, Winter Storm Uri of February 2021 demonstrated that we must prepare for more severe and prolonged freezing weather.
Power Outage Safety Tips from Austin Energy
Power outages are the result of a variety of causes — anything from traffic accidents, wildlife interference, and severe weather. They can occur on the brightest of sunny days and during our sudden, and sometimes severe, Central Texas thunderstorms.
Flood Safety Resources
Austin is in the heart of Flash Flood Alley. Use the links on this page to help protect yourself, your family and your property from floods.
Small Business Preparedness Resources
By taking small steps to create a preparedness plan, Austin small businesses can be ready for an event that severely disrupts operations, such as extended power outages, pandemics or natural disasters.