You have the power to protect yourself, your loved ones, and our community in an emergency. The source of that super-power? Planning ahead. Preparing for disasters in advance can have big impact on your safety and recovery in a crisis.
A good rule is to have critical supplies and resources you need be self-sufficient for seven days. Follow these four steps to get prepared:
1. Make a Plan
2. Build a Kit
3. Know your Neighbors
4. Stay Informed
Discuss how with your family how you will respond, stay informed, and contact one another during emergency situations in which key services like electricity, water, or first responders may not be available. Once your initial plan has been created, make it a point to discuss it at least once a year and make updates as needed.
A family emergency plan should include:
- A designated place to meet if you are separated - outside your home, or nearby
A plan to contact one another if you are unable to meet or get separated during a crisis
Public safety phone numbers (i.e. police, fire, and hospital) for your area
- An out-of-area contact to communicate that you’re safe and learn the status of other family member
To get started with your plan, click here to access a template provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Once the plan is complete, consider laminating a paper copy AND saving an electronic version to cloud drive and on your phone. That way it’s accessible in a variety of situations.
Having basic supplies on hand can make a disaster less stressful, and in some cases, make the difference between life and death. Assemble an emergency supply kit with enough supplies for everyone in your house for seven days. You don’t have to do it all at once and it doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.
- Start with the basics (i.e. water, food, first aid and hygiene items,) that can fit in a backpack or other portable container.
- Add to it as you are able (i.e. flashlight, extra batteries, portable charge, blankets, and cash), and consider unique supplies that pertain to different seasons.
- Understand the unique needs of you and your family and take those into account when building your kit.
- Don’t forget your pet's needs.
Here is a starter checklist to help get you going. If you would like to download the list, right click on the image and then click "save image as."
Neighbors helping neighbors enhances community resilience and ensures that emergency resources will reach those in the greatest need. If you can help one of your neighbors, that could be one less emergency call that needs to be made. Reducing the strain on emergency services by helping each other can add up to make a big difference in a crisis. All this means that knowing your neighbors and identifying those who might need extra help during a disaster is critical to increasing Austin’s disaster preparedness.
You can also prepare yourself and then get involved in the community to encourage disaster preparedness:
- Learn CPR and basic first aid. It may save the life of your loved ones or neighbor.
- Take Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.
- Organize your neighborhood, homeowners’ association, apartment complex, or building to better prepare where you live for a disaster.
- You are the help, until help arrives! Five simple steps can help save a life. Call 9-1-1, stay safe, stop the bleeding, position the injured and provide comfort. FEMA Community Tips can help guide you.
Knowing where you can get reliable information during an emergency is crucial. During a disaster unreliable websites and social media can have incorrect, out of date, or even false information. It’s important to know ahead of time where you will get critical updates about what is going on in the community.
Take the following steps now so you are better informed from reliable sources when disaster strikes:
Sign up for Warn Central Texas to receive alerts for your neighborhood letting you know when you need to take immediate action to stay safe.
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
Emergency Preparedness Resources
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 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.
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.
Austinites whose homes present health or safety hazards may need financial assistance. This program helps eligible homeowners to make critical and necessary repairs. Minor Home Repair Grants are up to $5,000 per home.
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.