MONIQUE BATSON — Don’t wait for a storm to arrive to prepare for it
Published 12:05 am Friday, July 22, 2022
While we’re mid-way through summer, we’re also in the early stages of another season no one really wants to think much about.
But on days like July 1, when almost a foot of rain falls and floods the roads, it’s hard not to think about hurricane season.
Recently Port Arthur Deputy Chief Jermey Houston, who also serves as the city’s emergency management coordinator, offered tips for residents in regards to the current hurricane season.
“Hurricane scientists are predicting a slightly above average hurricane season once again this year,” he said. “For the 2022 season, scientists are forecasting a range of 14 to 21 named storms, six to 10 of them will become major hurricanes, and three to six of them as Category 3 or above.”
- Register for the Southeast Texas Alert Network (this can be done at thestan.com). This will allow you to receive notifications about emergencies or pertinent information in your and surrounding cities. You can receive notifications by text, call, email or all of the above. Also register for the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry, which can provide you with assistance in the event you need to evacuate. To do so, dial 2-1-1. But it must be done every year to ensure information is up to date.
- Check on your neighbors to make sure their and your homes are prepared for a storm. “When winds are at (100-plus miles an hour), garage doors get blown in.” Replace garage doors, shutters and have the necessary tools to board windows if necessary.
- Landscaping: Trim or cut down trees that could fall with heavy winds. Ensure wooden fences are secured. And contact someone to inspect your roof to ensure everything is up to par.
- Prepare a disaster supply kit. Have at least a seven-day supply of non-perishable foods and drinking water. Stock up on flashlights and batteries. Purchase candles and a battery-operated radio in order to receive news and updates in the event of a power outage.
- Have a first-aid kid nearby.
- Have a portable cell phone charger.
- Take photos and/or videos of your property both inside and out. “Take as many photos as possible. Your proof to the insurance company is what you have already. Those photos are valuable.” Also check with your insurance company to ensure you have the proper coverage, including flood insurance.
- Gather important documents — insurance information, birth certificates, etc. — together in one place.
- In the event a mandatory evacuation is called, a hub will be established at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center. Those in need of transportation will be taken from there to a shelter outside of the area determined by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
- Follow evacuation orders from local officials. “Once the evacuation order is given, gather all of your things and your important documentation and leave immediately. Get out as soon as possible. Leave as early as possible to avoid heavy traffic.”
- Prepare to stay at your destination for at least one week. If you intend to stay at a hotel, reserve it before you leave.
- If you don’t have a GPS system, make sure you have a map.
- Reentry will be based on things such as damage to infrastructure and other weather-related damage, such as debris in roads and downed power lines.
“The time is now to get all that stuff done,” Houston said.
Monique Batson is Port Arthur Newsmedia editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.