How to Prepare Your Family for Summer Severe Weather in North Texas
Spring and summer can stir up plenty of opportunities for families to have fun and make memories that will last a lifetime, but the seasons also stir up plenty of severe weather in North Texas.
Although it may not be at the top of your list of fun things to do with the family this summer, setting aside some time to plan and prepare with them for an emergency not only saves precious time, but it could also save lives.
“Definitely have a plan on what you’re going to do if you’re faced with a storm situation,” said Sue Carlino, CHEP, CHSP, the emergency management coordinator for Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, “Planning a meeting point, keeping important phone numbers handy, and making sure radios and lights have batteries in case the power goes out are some key things to keep in mind.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services offers a free, printable family emergency plan to help you get started. Since all families, and their needs, are different, DSHS suggests making a plan that fits your family, then run frequent drills, making sure everyone knows what to do whether someone is present or they’re alone during an emergency. KnoWhat2Do also has a kid-friendly website that comes equipped with games, coloring pages and activities to test your child’s knowledge and prepare them for emergencies.
Another helpful time-saver is preparing a disaster kit that is easy to locate and take with you because you may not have enough time to gather everything you need when severe weather hits.
“I suggest a weather radio that has batteries in case the power goes out, a flashlight, and a 3-day supply of bottled water and non-perishable food items,” said Carlino, “Because you never know how long you’re going to be without power to light your home or cook.”
If you feel like you need a little more guidance, Texas Health Fort Worth offers an interactive class that covers storm safety and goes through a miniature version of a 96-hour drill for your home.
The most integral part of being prepared is communication. Dallas and Fort Worth’s city hall websites offer resources to help you get informed and prepared, including links to their social media accounts and alert programs that send texts or emails to you during an emergency. These alerts not only notify you of an emergency, but they also provide a plan of action, such as evacuation.
“I always say it’s a good thing to get alerts from your city,” said Carlino. “A lot of cities have text alerts to let you know what’s going on. A lot of people don’t like weather radios because they’re noisy and go off a lot during storm season, but a lot of these HAM radio people are looking specifically for storms and are some of the first to know if there’s a threat.”
Although it may be the least fun thing your family does this summer, planning and preparing for North Texas’ severe weather can help ensure many more fun summers to come. For more information on how to prepare, plan and stay informed, visit the National Weather Service’s Dallas/Fort Worth forecast website.