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"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
Emergencies and Disasters--whether natural or man-made--are inevitable. But, even with just a little preplanning and knowledge, these hardships can be more manageable and less life-threatening.
What's the difference between a WATCH, ADVISORY, and WARNING?
During weather-related events, the quickest way to get local weather updates, often during real time, is by tuning in to your local news station meteorologist. But when your television service becomes compromised due to satellite interruption or electricity going off, there are other ways to stay informed. One is to have a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio station within your home. These are inexpensive devices that can be purchased at HEB or on Amazon. Other ways to be notified include the following:
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Generally, keeping your eyes and ears open will serve one well in any disaster or emergency, whether natural or man-made. Always be aware of who is in your presence and move or leave the area if you feel uncomfortable or sense something is out of sorts. Check out these other tips:
Create An Emergency Plan
Be ready BEFORE the emergency or disaster hits.
Sometimes, people will be asked to "Shelter in Place." The current situation is too hazardous or dangerous to move elsewhere. Examples of such an incident include but are not limited to an active shooter, tornado, winter storms or chemical, radiological or other hazard. Prepare now determining what items you might need when sheltering in place even for several days such as water, medications, batteries, prepared food, blankets.
In other situations, people are advised to "Evacuate." Whether having to evacuate from home, school or office, plan multiple evacuation routes in case one is impassable. Determine and communicate a common meet-up destination for those in your family or organization who have had to evacuate. And make arrangements now for pets and livestock in the event of an evacuation.
Bastrop County, home of the Lost Pines, has seen its number of wildfires. The Bastrop County Complex fire ignited on Sept. 4, 2011 was the most destructive wildfire in state history. The 32,000-acre inferno destroyed over 1,600 homes and killed two people. Through time, this area has seen rejuvenation and revitalization of wildlife and their habitats as well as people's homes. Knowing steps to take to both prevent wildfires and actions to take when posed with a wildfire can save lives!
Before A Wildfire
During a Wildfire
To Find Out More
FEMA's Wildfire Guide
National Fire Protection Association Preparing Homes for Wildfire
Texas Forest Service Prepare Your Home for Wildfire
Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment Interactive Page
Texas A&M Forest Service maintains the Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment interactive page. Homeowners can find numerous resources including the "What's Your Risk" interactive tool. Put in an address and this real-time tool will reveal the fire risk for that location for that specific time.
Central Texas is prone to flash flooding especially in the spring and summer. This event can develop quickly, sometimes without any visible signs of rain. Dangerous walls of roaring water can make roadways impassable and can flood properties, creating expensive damage.
Paying for Flood Damages
Before a Flood
During a Flood
FEMA's Flood Guide
Rainfall Forecast WPC days 1-5
Summers in Central Texas are hot. But factor in the humidity and the heat index, or "feels-like" temperature, often rises above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature possibly causing a life-threatening situation.
Know the Terms
Heat Wave - Prolonged period of excessive heat.
Heat Cramps - First signal body is having difficulty in heat. Muscles will spasm and create pain. Move the victim to a cooler location, massage the muscle, sip cool water.
Heat Exhaustion - A mild shock where blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to vital organs. If not treated, victim's condition will worsen possibly leading to heat stroke. Get victim to lie down in cool place and sip cool water. Loosen clothing and apply cool, wet cloths. Seek immediate medical attention is victim is vomiting.
Heat Stroke - A life-threatening condition. The body temperature can rise so high, resulting in brain damage or even death. Call 911 or get victim to hospital immediately. Cool body with a sponge bath or wet sheet to reduce body temperature.
During a Heat Emergency
People & Pets
Every thunderstorm produces lightning, sometimes creating quite a show and sometimes not. Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall. Warm, humid conditions typically produce thunderstorms that last a brief period, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
Severe Thunderstorm - One that produces hail at least three-quarters of an inch in diameter, has winds 58 miles per hour or higher, or produces a tornado.
Preparing for Area Thunderstorm
If Caught in Storm
On Open Water - Get to land immediately and find shelter.
In The Woods - Shelter in low area under thick growth of small trees.
In An Open Area - Be alert for flash floods. Go to a low ravine or valley.
FEMA's Thunderstorm & Lightening Guide
Peak tornado season in the south is March through May. Tornados may occur any time of the day but are more likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Tornados are nature's most violent of storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornados cause fatalities and can devastate a neighborhood in seconds. Tornados generally occur at the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. Before a tornado hits, wind may die down and the air may become very still.
Tornado Danger Signs
If Caught in a Tornado
FEMA's Tornado Guide
Extreme cold resulting in a immobilizing winter storm was virtually unheard of in Bastrop County until Winter Storm Uri February 13-17, 2021. Roadways throughout the State became impassable for days resulting in people isolated in homes, many of which lost electricity and suffered from broken water pipes. For those who did not prepare for the storm to last several days, water, medicines and food supplies ran short.
Before The Winter Storm
During A Winter Storm
FEMA's Winter Weather Guide
Fire spreads quickly; in just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames. Smoke can be just as dangerous as flames. There is no time to gather belongings or to make phone calls. Take these actions to protect yourself and your family.
Take Protective Measures
During A Fire
From cleaning, automotive, and lawn and gardening products to pesticides and workshop/painting supplies, homes a filled with hazardous products. Know where yours are stored and ensure that they are out of the reach of children.
National Poison Control Number
If someone has been exposed to a hazardous chemical, call emergency medical services. To provide requested information, have the hazardous chemical container on hand.
Signs of Toxic Poisoning
Storing Hazardous Household Materials
We are surrounded by hazardous materials whether they are being produced in community factories, stored in nearby facilities, transported up and down the roadways or railways, or disposed of improperly. Our community has a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) who collects information about hazardous materials in the community. This information is available at the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management.
If there becomes a hazardous materials emergency in our community, warnings will be issued to the public who should stay away from the hazardous area to minimize the risk of contamination.
Hazardous Materials Incident Considerations
Bastrop County Courthouse
804 Pecan Street
Bastrop, TX 78602
Phone: (512) 581-7100
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