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National Hurricane Preparedness Week: Get Ready for the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season

By Indira Zaldivar & Edward Saenz

Houston, Texas — As National Hurricane Preparedness Week kicks off from May 5 to 11, Harris County officials urge residents to gear up for the upcoming hurricane season, which officially begins on June 1.

Mark Sloan, the Emergency Management Coordinator for Harris County, emphasized the importance of early preparations.

“With less than a month until the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season, [Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management] urges all residents to begin preparing now,” Sloan stated.

“Being prepared is a shared responsibility, and everyone needs to do their part.”

To assist residents in their preparedness efforts, HCOHSEM is providing a range of tips and resources. The tips, laid out in detail ahead, include creating a disaster supply kit, developing a personalized emergency plan, and staying informed about weather updates and evacuation procedures.

One key aspect is distinguishing weather terms and taking appropriate actions based on warnings, watches, advisories, and outlooks, according to the Harris officials. Additionally, residents are encouraged to identify their evacuation zone and familiarize themselves with evacuation routes.

“Preparing your home, securing loose objects, and weatherproofing are crucial steps in ensuring safety during severe weather,” Sloan emphasized. Furthermore, HCOHSEM advises homeowners, renters, and business owners to consider purchasing flood insurance and to check the status of their policies regularly.

As part of their outreach efforts, HCOHSEM is promoting the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry. STEAR is a service designed to assist residents with access and functional needs during emergencies. Signing up with STEAR or calling 2-1-1 can provide individuals with vital assistance and transportation options if needed.

“It only takes one storm to devastate our community,” Sloan added. “We may not be able to prevent these storms, but we can take the appropriate steps to prepare.”

To stay updated and informed, residents can follow HCOHSEM updates on www.ReadyHarris.org, social media platforms, and by signing up for Ready Harris Alerts. For specific 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season updates, individuals can text GULF2024 to 888777.

Tips from HCOHSEM to prepare for hurricane season

  • Preparing your home. Take some time to strengthen your home prior to severe weather. Secure loose objects outside of your home and weatherproof the exterior.
  • Buying flood insurance. Homeowners, renters, and business owners are encouraged to buy flood insurance through their insurance agent. Residents who may already have coverage should check the status of their policy to be sure it has not lapsed. Remember that flood insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) normally carry a 30-day waiting period and are not sold when there is an active tropical cyclone in the Gulf of Mexico. For more information, visit www.FloodSmart.gov.
  • Knowing your weather terms. Weather terms have different meanings and require specific actions. Do you know the difference between a warning, watch, advisory, and outlook?
  • Knowing your evacuation zone. Residents who live in an evacuation zone need to learn their evacuation routes and follow instructions from local authorities. To determine if your home is located in an evacuation zone, check the Zip Zone Evacuation Map. 
  • Keeping your gas tank at least half full. If an evacuation is ordered, gas stations may be closed. Make sure you have enough fuel to reach your destination.
  • Signing up with the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR) online or calling 2-1-1 to register. STEAR is a free service available to residents with access and functional needs, and individuals who may need transportation assistance.

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