Disaster preparedness is a good idea no matter where you live, and the Metroplex is no exception.
Dallas-Fort Worth residents should be ready for anything, although the threat of tornadoes is probably the biggest constant in the region. North Central Texas is on the southern end of the infamous Tornado Alley, where tornadoes threaten at least once a year. However, tornadoes aren’t the only concern: In the more urban areas, man-made disasters like leaking gas pipelines and chemical spills may occasionally force people to leave their homes, though usually just temporarily.
Texas Prepares, a division of the Texas Department of State Health Services, has comprehensive information for residents to practice disaster preparedness. It includes forms, wallet cards, checklists, and other tools to help families develop a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan.
Emergency supplies are essential in any plan, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has suggestions for what a household will need. The state suggests residents have supplies both at home and available to load into their cars or backpacks in case they are forced to leave.
It’s a good idea to have a first-aid kit in your pack, as well as a document bag with important papers. This bag includes important items such as cash, insurance policies, vehicle titles, Social Security cards, picture IDs, a list of prescription information, property deeds, and spare keys. Some families also include a portable backup drive from their PC.
Other supplies that families should have on hand to take with them or use at home include flashlights, non-perishable food, a hand-crank can opener, water, sunscreen, insect repellent, duct tape, and plastic sheeting. FEMA emphasizes that you’ll need water, too — one gallon per person per day, for at least three days.
Make sure you and your family put together a plan about what to do if disaster strikes your Metroplex neighborhood.
For example, when a tornado is imminent, DFW residents will not have time to evacuate their homes. To be safe, you should move to the bottom level and the innermost room of your house — decide how to react ahead of time. However, family members and roommates should also decide where everyone will meet if forced out of the home because of disaster.
Make sure they are meeting places that are easy to reach and that every family member is familiar with, such as a neighbor’s home or the front door of a high school. An out-of-town emergency contact should also be designated for situations where everyone has to leave the area.
Other important emergency contact information includes addresses and phone numbers for work and school, medical care, insurance companies, and a veterinarian if a pet is part of the household. The state of Texas also reminds homeowners not to depend on cell phones during a disaster. Towers may be down, and cell service may be interrupted.
No one can control when a disaster strikes the DFW area, but being prepared will help you stay as safe and comfortable as possible until it passes.
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