Commissioners Court Proclaims September as Emergency Preparedness Month, Offers Ways to Prepare for Disasters
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – On the heels of a major weather event that could have been much worse for Hays County, the Hays County Commissioners Court proclaimed September as National Emergency Preparedness Month in Hays County.
“We were extremely fortunate that Hurricane Harvey didn’t cause more damage in Hays County than it has so far,” Hays County Emergency Management Coordinator and Director of Emergency Services Kharley Smith said. “But we were prepared for the worst, thanks to well-trained first responders and a supportive community.”
She and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Mike Jones also publicly thanked those who serve as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members. Some 65 volunteers had already donated close to 700 hours of volunteer service this year prior to Hurricane Harvey events. CERT volunteers assist first responders, Emergency Operations Center staff, and other disaster volunteers with first aid, food and water delivery, line searches, and staff relief tents during emergencies. The County has already held four training classes for CERT volunteers this year. Residents interested in becoming CERT trained are invited to visit www.hayscountycert.com.
Smith continued, “For families and businesses that haven’t already taken the time to make an emergency preparedness plan, now’s the time while these events are fresh in your mind. What to do if a major weather event, such as a flood, hurricane or tornado threatens, or a terrorist attack or chemical spill threatens your community where you live or work? There are many resources that make it easy to plan and ensure that your entire family or family of employees knows what to do.”
Smith recommends visiting www.ready.gov to learn the easy steps necessary to be prepared with a family emergency plan that includes communications, sheltering and evacuation. Information in a variety of languages other than English is available at www.ready.gov/languages. She also reminded the public that countywide emergency information is posted at www.HaysInformed.com during emergencies.
In conjunction with the National Weather Service, the County will present Flash Flooding: Know the Dangers which is geared toward residents who want to understand why flash floods are so common in Hays County and how to prepare for them. The class will be held at the Kyle Fire Department, 210 West Moore Street, Kyle, from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, September 6, and the public is encouraged to attend.
In concert with Emergency Preparedness Month, the ten-county CAPCOG is enhancing its www.warncentraltexas.org site with easy links to emergency preparedness information. The site allows you to register your cell phone or computer for text, email or voice alerts focused on the addresses you sign up – for instance, your home, business, schools, or relatives – anywhere in the ten counties. These alerts are in addition to the federally required alerts that currently come to your landline, if you still have one.
Encouraging residents to prepare for emergencies during National Emergency Preparedness Month are (front row) Community Emergency Response Team volunteers Sara Myers, Robert Mooney, Christine Greve and Noel Rodriguez; left to right on dais, Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Jones, Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, CERT volunteers George Conwill and Diana Welsch, Fire Marshal Clint Browning, Office of Emergency Services CERT Program Coordinator Laurie Taylor, Assistant County Emergency Management Coordinator Justin McInnis, County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Mike Jones, Office of Emergency Services Director Kharley Smith, Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley, CERT volunteer Gary Callon, Sheriff Gary Cutler, and Precinct 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant.