The best defense against a disaster is preparation. 

Disaster Preparedness

Find information and tips about how to prepare for a disaster, plan templates, and more at these sites. 

Department of Homeland Security - Ready: Ready.gov or Listo.gov
Harris County Flood Education Mapping Tool
Harris County Flood Warning System
Houston TransStar
Ready Houston

If you need help before, during, or after a storm, call 2-1-1. Our 2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE is our community’s go-to resource in times of disaster, providing up-to-the-minute information about shelters, evacuation orders, food, and other community resources 24 hours a day, every day. 2-1-1 also facilitates STEAR, registering those who may need assistance in a disaster with local emergency management officials.

Make a plan. Your family is unique. As you make your disaster plan, be sure to consider all types of disasters and everyone’s needs. To start putting together a disaster plan, you should identify how you will get in to contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. Use this guide to get started.

Build a kit. Print a copy of this list and put together a kit of emergency essentials like:

  • Food that will not spoil and requires no cooking
  • Five to seven day supply of water (one gallon per person per day)
  • First-aid kit and medications: pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid, laxative, activated charcoal (for poison), other necessary medications prescribed by your physician.
  • Emergency tools, such as a battery-powered radio, cell phone, flashlight, batteries
  • Personal items like toilet paper and plastic garbage bags
  • Change of clothing and blankets for each person

Collect and share info. Print, fill out, and include this list of important numbers and family contacts. Make a copy for everyone in your family.

Place your important documents in a safety deposit box or waterproof container so that they are not damaged in the event of flooding or water leak. Examples of important documents that should be protected are: birth certificates, passports, citizenship documentation, marriage certificates, social security cards, deed to your home, insurance documents, vehicle titles, etc.

Ensuring your home can weather an emergency can help ease the damage the disaster might cause. There are a few simple things you can do to help better protect your home: clean out gutters regularly, trim trees and remove any dead or down branches from the property, make sure that your roof is properly secured and there are no leaks, and ensure that all doors and windows are properly sealed.

Homeowners should consider protecting their home by purchasing flood insurance. On average, the annual premium for flood insurance on a single family one story home is $400 - $450. Depending on various factors, a homeowner could pay upwards of $2,500 annually if they reside in a flood plain. To get more information on what flood insurance covers and how to purchase flood insurance, go to floodsmart.gov.

People who may need extra assistance in a disaster should register with State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR) by visiting texasstear.org or dialing 2-1-1. STEAR may be used by those who require transportation assistance in an evacuation, as well as by individuals who may require other assistance during a disaster.

Honorable Ed Emmett
Harris County Judge

Mark Sloan, Emergency Management Coordinator
Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Francisco Sanchez, Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator
Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management