TEEX Urges Risk Assessment and Preparation During National Hurricane Preparedness Week

Man standing in front of a desk full of survival kit items
Texas Task Force 1 Training Manager Stephen Bjune displays his go-kit, an emergency supply kit that he maintains in case of a hurricane or other disaster.

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) urges Texans and other Gulf Coast residents to assess their risks from hurricanes and begin preparations now during Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 5 -11), which is sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In addition to affecting coastal communities, hurricanes can result in widespread winds and flooding to inland areas as well, so it’s important to develop a plan and prepare for hurricane season, which begins in June.

“Over and over, we experience situations where individuals are not prepared for the storm and choose not to evacuate when local officials issue evacuation orders,” said Stephen Bjune, training manager for Texas A&M Task Force 1 (TX-TF1), the state’s Urban Search and Rescue Team that deploys to areas that are struck by hurricanes. “My best advice is to take the necessary steps now to prepare for a hurricane and trust your state and local officials—when they say to evacuate, do so as soon as possible. By staying behind, you are not only risking your and your family’s lives, but also the lives of those who have deployed to try and rescue you.”

Bjune offers the following tips to prepare your family and home for a hurricane.

  • Determine your risk – Understand what hazards could happen where you live and prepare for them. Make sure you have enough homeowner’s insurance to repair or even replace your home, vehicle or other property. If you live in a flood plain, you need flood insurance.
  • Develop an evacuation plan – Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you are told to evacuate, and remember to also plan for your pets. If you will be driving, keep your vehicle full of fuel (or fully charged) prior to evacuation. Communicate the plan with your household and update it annually.
  • Assemble a go-kit – Prepare an emergency supply kit to take with you when you evacuate containing items such as water, non-perishable food, pet food, a first-aid kit, important documents, cash, medications, etc. Go to ready.gov/kit to help customize your go-kit, and check and replenish it annually.
  • Get your home ready – Clear your yard of items that could blow around and damage your home, such as lawn furniture, bikes, grills, etc., and put them under a shelter. Move vehicles into your garage or under a shelter. Be ready to turn off your power if evacuating.
  • Tune in to a reliable weather source – Listen to your local news and weather and have a battery-operated radio and flashlight on hand in case of a power outage. Access the NOAA National Hurricane Center website at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ for the latest updates.
  • Communicate with your family and neighbors – If you evacuate, let your family and neighbors know where you are going and take their contact information with you in addition to an extra cell phone battery and a car charger to stay in touch.

Advanced planning saves lives and reduces anxiety when a storm hits. Consider brushing up on your safety skills during a disaster by taking the TEEX course, Disaster Preparedness and Survival, which is designed for community groups and families. For more information, see https://teex.org/class/per334/. If you are interested in offering this course at no cost for a group in your community, contact Bill Dozier at [email protected].

About Texas A&M Task Force 1

TX-TF1 functions as one of the 28 federal task forces under the FEMA National US&R System and as a statewide urban search and rescue team under the direction of the Governor through the Texas Division of Emergency Management. TX-TF1 has responded to 45 tropical weather events since its inception in 1997.

To prepare for a hurricane deployment, TX-TF1 participates in 25,000 hours of training each year, including a swift water rescue training, a helicopter rescue exercise, and a full-scale training exercise each Spring to ensure the 800-plus responders under the TX-TF1 umbrella are ready to respond at a moment’s notice.

About TEEX

The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) is an internationally recognized leader in emergency response training, workforce training and technical assistance. In 2023, TEEX trained more than 212,000 participants from every U.S. state and territory and 118 countries worldwide.

Major TEEX programs include Fire and Emergency Services, Infrastructure and Safety, Law Enforcement and Protective Services, and Business and Cyber Solutions. Additionally, through its National Emergency Response and Recovery Training Center (NERRTC), TEEX provides federally funded homeland security training and technical assistance for communities across the nation. The agency also sponsors the Texas A&M Public Works Response Team (TX-PWRT) and the Texas A&M Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) Urban Search and Rescue Team.

Distributed by:
Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service
Vita Vaughn | Director of Marketing and Communications/CMO
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