April 28, 2008
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) launched the third phase of its Ready or Not? HAVE A PLAN bilingual public education campaign today, putting the emphasis on family emergency preparedness for the spring and summer storm season.
“The time for families to plan is now,” said Dr. David Lakey, DSHS commissioner. “It's too late to prepare when you hear a weather forecast predicting an approaching hurricane, tornado or flood.”
Ready or Not? HAVE A PLAN or ¿Estás Listo? HAGAMOS UN PLAN in Spanish uses radio, television, newspaper and outdoor advertising; community outreach events; and its interactive Web site to encourage every Texan to create an emergency plan now.
“Preparing for a hurricane is a team effort,” said Jack Colley, chief of the Governor's Division of Emergency Management. “That team is composed of local, state and federal responders along with our great volunteer organizations. That team could not be complete without the family being equally prepared. Together, we form a team of teams that together stand together to protect our communities.”
The year-long Ready or Not? HAVE A PLAN campaign focuses on three key elements: family, essentials and information.
Talk with everyone in your family about your emergency plan. Know where your family will meet if you have to evacuate or when it's important for your family to stay put. Include elderly neighbors and people with disabilities who may depend on you for help. Have a list of emergency contacts. And remember your pets.
Make a shopping list of essential items you need. Store those emergency supplies in one place. Put copies of all essential documents – driver's license or passport, insurance policies, health cards and prescriptions – in a waterproof bag.
Then know how to get information in an emergency. Have a battery-operated radio on hand with plenty of fresh batteries.
The Web site at www.TexasPrepares.org or www.TexasPrepara.org offers people a way to build a custom plan step by step. Those without Internet access may dial 2-1-1 for help finding local sites that offer free Internet access.
“We all understand that it usually takes a catastrophic event to get the public's attention,” said Steve McCraw, director of the Governor's Office of Homeland Security. “What we must do is encourage all Texans to take action so that when disaster strikes, they will be prepared.”
The Ready or Not? community outreach tour, which had 18 events in the fall and winter, began another round of visits April 28 in Austin. Stops are planned in April, May and June in Houston, Beaumont, Victoria, Galveston, Brownsville and Corpus Christi. At each free event, the colorful RV Plan Van will be parked next to a 20-foot-square tent filled with informational displays, sample disaster supply kits and Internet kiosks where visitors can begin or continue their planning.
The “Ready or Not? HAVE A PLAN” campaign, which is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for public health preparedness, began last fall and runs through July.
(News media: for more information contact Emily Palmer, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7400.)