As common as disasters are in today’s world, studies show most people do little or nothing to prepare for them. That’s why the Texas Department of Health Services is launching a campaign it hopes will get people to think ahead and plan for those situations. They say planning could be the difference between surviving a disaster, and not surviving it. Houston Public Radio’s Jim Bell reports.
This campaign was planned long before the California wildfires broke out, but officials say that giant public disaster is a perfect example of the need for personal emergency planning. The Texas campaign is called “Ready or Not? Have a Plan”, and spokeswoman Emily Palmer says it’s needed because so many people don’t plan ahead and they’re not ready when disaster strikes.
“There have been a couple of studies, one of them by the American Red Cross which was done recently, that showed basically that only eight percent of Americans have done what they think they need to do to be fully prepared for a natural disaster or a terrorist attack.”
Palmer says people need to plan for their family’s survival no matter where they live, because no place in this country is safe from one kind of disaster emergency or another.
“You know it could be a hurricane, it could be a wildfire, it could be floods, it could be a disease outbreak, it could be a very very serious flu epidemic. Any of those things could happen anywhere in this country.”
With all that in mind, the Texas Department of Health Services has launched a campaign designed to get people to think about what they would have to do to survive a disaster.
“Ready or Not? Have a Plan” is a campaign to educate the public about how important it is to prepare a family emergency plan for any disaster.”
Palmer says an effective family disaster plan should have three basic elements.
“They need a personal plan for their family. Where are you gonna meet in an emergency? Do you have supplies that will help? If you have to evacuate, where are you gonna go? The second thing is to have essentials. Essential supplies, copies of essential documents that are ready, that you can take at a moment’s notice.”
The third thing a disaster plan needs is access to information. Keep a landline phone in the house because cordless phones won’t work when the power goes out. Keep at least one battery powered radio with plenty of extra batteries for the same reason. Palmer says most people don’t even think about what to do until a disaster hits, and that’s too late because the whole town is in a state of emergency. To help people make those plans now, the state agency has a website with everything they need to know about disaster planning, and there’s a link to it on our website, www.kuhf.org. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.