Texas A&M Forest Service Promotes Disaster Preparedness

Texas A&M Forest Service Promotes Disaster Preparedness
Lone Star State Type II Initial Attack Handcrew supports a burnout on the Cedar Creek Fire in Oregon | Image by Texas A&M Forest Service

Earlier this month, The Dallas Express shared some strategies on fire safety in light of Fire Prevention Week.

Likewise, with October being Fire Prevention Month, Texas A&M Forest Service is urging those in the Lone Star State to have an evacuation plan in case of a wildfire or similar disaster.

The campaign for this year’s Fire Prevention Month aims to educate people on having a proper evacuation plan and understanding how to implement it, according to a Texas A&M press release.

Texas A&M wants Texans to be prepared for any kind of disaster that could require evacuating. This can include wildfires, as well as tornadoes, hurricanes, or winter storms.

Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service fire chief, shared that Texans should not wait until an emergency happens to start preparing.

“Don’t wait for an emergency to occur to start planning for it. Be informed about the risk in your area, monitor conditions and ensure that you are prepared,” Moorehead said in the press release.

Evacuation plans should be updated regularly and take into account the needs of everyone in a household. This should be done no matter the kind of emergency expected.

Moorehead said this wildfire season was Texas’ most active since 2011. Texas firefighters have responded to more than 10,000 wildfires this year. These fires burned 634,022 acres.

Moorehead shared that since many of these fires resulted in evacuations, Texas A&M urges residents to start making plans in advance.

“Texas experienced an extremely active wildfire year with a lot of impact to communities,” Moorehead said in the press release. “Our firefighters, at the state and local level, are prepared to respond quickly but we need Texans to make evacuation preparations in advance. Listen to local officials and, if necessary, evacuate early to get yourself out of harm’s way.”

Texas A&M shared multiple tips for creating an evacuation plan and being prepared in worst-case scenario situations. These tips include having at least two evacuation routes planned and memorized, working with local responders to learn what to expect during a disaster, and practicing the evacuation plan before it is ever needed.

Texans were also encouraged to create a Go Kit using the “five P’s” to ensure all the household needs are met.

The five P’s, according to Texas A&M, are:

  • People and Pets — plan for the whole family, including pets and livestock.
  • Prescriptions — bring extra medication, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and medical equipment including necessary batteries and power cords.
  • Papers — include copies of insurance information, phone numbers, and other important documents.
  • Personal needs — pack personal items including clothes, food, water, toiletries, first aid kit, cash, computers/tablets, phones, chargers, and sanitation supplies.
  • Priceless items — include items of sentimental value, such as pictures, heirlooms, and irreplaceable memorabilia.

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