It is not if Galveston County will have a natural disaster, but WHEN. The most likely natural disaster to affect the citizens of Galveston County is a hurricane. With hurricanes, there are several different types of hazards that may be encountered: storm surges, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. The 2017 National Weather Service Hurricane Tracking Guide is a useful tool.
What you can do to prepare yourself and your family
Before Hurricane Season Starts:
- Plan an evacuation route for you and your family.
- Teach each family member how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water. (Don't forget, a professional will have to be called to turn them back on)
- Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or fire department
- Know which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
- Develop a family emergency communication plan.
- In case family members are separated from one another during a disaster (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
- Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
- Protect your windows.
- Permanent shutters are the best protection. A lower-cost approach is to put up plywood panels. Use 1/2 inch plywood - marine plywood is best - cut to fit each window. Remember to label which board fits which window. Pre-drill holes every 18 inches for screws.
- Trim back dead or weak branches from trees.
- Check into flood insurance.
- You can find out about the National Flood Insurance Program through your local insurance agent or emergency management office. There is normally a 30-day waiting period before a new policy becomes effective. Homeowner policies do not cover damage from the flooding that accompanies a hurricane.
If told to evacuate, do so!
Make sure you take with you:
- Birth certificates
- Immunization records for children and adults
- Driver license or other photo ID
- Social Security cards
- Health insurance cards and policies
- Prescription medications and containers
- Any unfilled written prescriptions
- List of medications taken by family members
- Three- to five-day supply of water (one gallon of water per person per day)
- Three- to five-day supply of canned and other non-perishable foods
- Special foods for diabetics and others with special dietary needs
- Baby food, formula, diapers and other supplies for infants
- Fruits and vegetables
- Manual can opener
- Water-purifier, such as unscented chlorine bleach or iodine tables
- Soap, toothpaste, tissue and other personal hygiene supplies
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Disposable cleaning cloths or wipes
- First aid kit
- Extra eyeglasses, contacts and solutions
- Sleeping bags or blankets, sheets, pillows
- Flashlight (include extra batteries).
- Portable, battery-operated radio (include extra batteries).
- First aid kit and manual
- Non-electric can opener
- A three day supply of essential medicines and medical supplies for EACH applicable member of the family
- Cash and credit cards
- Sturdy shoes and gloves
- Emergency food and water, this should be 1 gallon of water per day per person and enough non-perishable food for 3 days for each family member and pet.
Pet Disaster Supply Kit
- Proper identification including immunization records
- A current photograph of your pet
- Ample supply of food and water
- A carrier or cage
- Muzzle, collar and leash
Pets may not be allowed in Emergency Shelters, or they may require the above items for each of your pets. Contact the local humane society for information on local animal shelters, or animal shelters in the area you plan to go to in the event you may have to evacuate.