Texas Storm Readiness Guide
Be prepared. Get informed. Stay safe.
If you’re one of the many Texans who’s faced a hurricane or tropical storm before, you know that the key to making it through safely is to stay as informed as possible and to prepare for anything. Use this guide to ensure that you have the helpful tips and resources you need to be ready and stay safe.
What to do before a storm.
You don’t have control over when a hurricane will hit, but you can make sure you’re ready when one comes. Here are some steps you can take to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
When you’re notified that a storm is coming, your first job is to stay informed. Listen for the latest updates from your county and city officials and keep an eye on local radio and television reports. Be sure to check the National Hurricane Center site regularly.
Stock up on supplies for your home and car.
Before the hurricane hits, make sure you’re stocked up on these essentials:
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable food
- Medications (prescription & over the counter)
- First aid supplies
- Pet food
- Rain gear
- Battery-operated radio
- Solar-powered phone charger
- Backup power solutions, including a generator and a portable power bank
Protect your home.
Trim trees and shrubs around your home to minimize the risk of broken branches and debris. In the case of higher category hurricanes with stronger winds, consider covering your windows to prevent breakage and placing sandbags in areas that may be prone to flooding.
Prepare to evacuate if necessary.
- Follow all advice from your local officials when deciding whether to evacuate before the storm. It’ll likely be too dangerous to evacuate once the storm hits.
- If you’re sheltering in place, designate a safe area in your home away from windows and doors.
- Pack a bag of essential items, including a phone charger, clothing, socks, shoes, toiletries, cash and important documents (in a resealable plastic bag).
- Get your car ready by filling up on gas, performing any necessary maintenance, checking and replenishing all fluids, replacing your windshield wipers and filling your tires with air.
- Keep emergency phone numbers in multiple places and ensure everyone in the family knows the warning signs and what to expect.
How to stay safe during a storm.
If you’re faced with a hurricane, take steps to stay safe and get in touch with emergency contacts if needed.
- Listen to local radio and television reports for weather condition updates.
- Stay inside, even if it seems that the storm has ended, to avoid being outside when strong winds pick up.
- Keep away from windows and outside doors. Bathtubs can provide some protection if you cover yourself with plywood or other materials.
- Avoid using a landline telephone or touching electrical equipment.
- If the power is out, turn off and unplug all major appliances.
- Evacuate to a safe home or shelter if your home is flooded, or if emergency personnel has recommended for you to do so.
- Whether you choose to stay home or evacuate, you’ll want to unplug electronics and appliances, and remove air conditioner fuses.
Emergency phone numbers:
For a medical/functional emergency, call 211. For a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
What to do after a storm passes.
When local officials have declared that the storm has ended, there are a few key steps to take that will help you navigate its aftermath.
- Get in touch with family and friends to let them know that you’re safe and to make sure they’re safe.
- Continue monitoring updates and instructions from local authorities.
- If your electrical appliances got wet, wait for an electrician to check the device before using it.
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
- Keep away from floodwater and flooded roads. Drive around floodwater and not through it.
- Remember that flood and standing waters present health risks.
- Stay away from downed power lines and dangerous materials.
- Report power outages in your area to your local Transmission and Distribution Service Provider.
If you need FEMA assistance:
Apply by registering on the website DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those using TTY, call 1-800-462-7585 directly; those who use 711 or Video Relay Service, call 1-800-621-3362.