According to Texas Ready, there are three things that everyone should do to prepare for a disaster: be informed, make a plan, and build a kit.
Be informed: Research what disasters are more frequent in the area you live in and learn about the common effects that cause them. Consider both man–made and natural disasters. Stay up-to-date on the weather and be informed about the risks in your community, such as industrial plants or transport routes for hazardous materials.
Make a plan: Disasters often come without much warning. Plan ahead of time to have a way to communicate with family and close friends when disaster strikes. Do not wait until a disaster happens to make a plan. Making a plan includes deciding what you will do before, during, and after a disaster, as well as preparing for emotional and mental impacts.
Build a kit: Create a kit that includes necessities for your family, friends, and pets. Every kit should include food, water, and medical supplies, and they should be packed in a portable container. Make an inventory list of your kit items that you may need to bring last minute, such as medications, documentations, or a cane.
- Every Business Should Have a Plan is a resource from FEMA Habitat that offices can use when creating their own plan. All affiliates should have a plan in place to respond in the event of a disaster with consideration for the following:
- Are affiliate operations affected?
- Is the ReStore affected?
- Are staff personally affected?
- Are homeowners affected?
- How is the community affected?
- Preparedness Wizard from NCDP can help you identify potential disasters in your area and aid you in creating a plan.
- HAZUS from FEMA is a tool that gives an estimate for potential costs of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis.
- Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters from NOAA researches high cost climate-related disasters going back to 1980.
- NatCatSERVICE from Munich RE has decades of research on natural disasters and provides you with data on human and monumental losses.
- Habitat Texas owns a disaster response tool van available for use by member affiliates actively involved in recovery efforts. Donated to Habitat for Humanity by Nissan, the van comes equipped with many of the tools you will need for disaster response.
- AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) members may be available to help you respond. Habitat Texas partners with AmeriCorps VISTA, a national service program where citizens make a full-time, one year commitment to provide service to their partnered organization. AmeriCorps VISTAs are there to help with long-term recovery and capacity building.
Texas is prone to disasters: tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms and blizzards, drought, fires, and floods. These natural disasters, as well as man-made disasters, can severely impact the lives of the staff and volunteers of our affiliates and partner families.
The best time to prepare for disasters is before they happen. Habitat Texas’ primary focus is on preparedness for our affiliates – helping affiliates write disaster plans and keeping them on file. According to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, every dollar spent on disaster preparedness is worth six dollars in recovery.
Habitat for Humanity actively participates in long-term recovery. Other agencies are limited to providing immediate support in the hours after a disaster. Habitat remains dedicated for months and even years after to provide continued support. Habitat Texas serves as the state-level contact to interface with relief agencies and to assist affiliates in developing disaster response programs.
We also help coordinate the Texas affiliate response by partnering with affected affiliates.
We’ve seen regionally that disasters can affect entire communities as well as individuals. Visit Texas Ready to begin your personal disaster preparedness plan.
Member of Texas Volunteers Active in Disasters (TxVOAD)