HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — It is National Preparedness Month, and FEMA urges the public to keep their guard up during hurricane season.
The organization continues to educate the public, especially now that the season has hit its peak.
Earl Armstrong, a FEMA Public Affairs Specialist, said there is a variety of things we can do here in the Rio Grande Valley to help prepare for a natural disaster.
Although some things may seem simple, Armstrong said every step plays a huge role when it comes to safety.
According to Armstrong, the first thing the public needs to do is be aware of all potential threats. For the RGV, it is strong winds and flooding from hurricanes which is why FEMA is urging everyone to be prepared by having an emergency kit on standby.
Armstrong said these weather events can happen at any time, so you need to stay up to date on the latest information.
“You need to pay attention to the weather forecast, whether it’s a local radio or TV station, you need to pay attention to what the local officials are saying too, you follow their instructions,” he said.
Armstrong said it is important to remember that during a natural disaster, cell phones tend to not work because the lines become overloaded.
However, he said there have been situations where people have expressed being able to send a text message rather than contacting someone via phone call.
Armstrong said if you have to evacuate it is important to have a kit with food, water, clothes, and medication that could last for a week or two.
He said carrying important documents in plastic is encouraged, but you might also want to create digital copies in case hard copies get ruined or lost.
“Take all your important papers, you’ll want to be able to record them digitally, if nothing else take a picture of it and email it to yourself whether it’s insurance documents, bank account information, wills, whatever, make a copy of it and send it to yourself,” he said.
He also suggests familiarizing yourself with evacuation routes beforehand because the more prepared you are, the less stressful things will be when a natural disaster hits.
On top of being informed, Armstrong encourages everyone to have a plan and practice it beforehand.
He said www.ready.gov is a helpful resource to check out in case of further questions or concerns.