Friday, September 25, 2009

Stay Informed

This is the final weekend of National Preparedness Month and we hope everyone has learned at least one thing that will help them in an emergency. So far, we've discussed the importance of Getting a Kit and Making a Plan. Our final suggestion is to Be Informed.
Different emergencies require different responses. For example, a fire calls for building evacuation, while a tornado may call for people to remain in the structure for shelter. Understanding potential emergencies, and the appropriate response, is critical. Are you ready? Take this short quiz to determine your Readiness Quotient.
Our friends at have prepared an extensive, but not all-inclusive, list of potential disasters, as well as actions you can take to stay safe. A list of most-likely disasters may include:
Blackouts Chemical Threat
Extreme HeatFires
Influenza PandemicLandslide and Debris Flow (Mudslide)
Nuclear Threat Radiation Threat
Wildfires Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

Additionally, most areas or communities have established emergency plans. Do you know your community's emergency action plan? 

We'll be sharing the message of National Preparedness Month at this weekend's football game between Texas A&M University and the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Watch for preparedness messages throughout Kyle Field, including during radio broadcasts, stadium and scoreboard announcements, and inside the printed game-day program.
Just before kick-off, representatives of the emergency responders and emergency managers who keep Bryan-College Station, Brazos County and Texas A&M safe during disasters will be recognized on the field.
Also, watch for TEEX Director Gary Sera's blog next week on manufacturing and information technology. In the meantime, we'll see you at the game!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Make a Plan for You and Your Family

On July 30, residents of Aggieland experienced the creeping realization that a serious situation was developing just northwest of Bryan, which would, within hours, cause the evacuation of everyone north of University Drive in College Station. That day, citizens received a taste of the confusion that sometimes results when unpredicted disaster strikes.
If the evacuation had occurred on Sep. 30, with public and private schools, as well as Blinn College and Texas A&M in session, the confusion would have been vastly compounded.

In our second blog about National Preparedness Month, we'll help you make a plan, so no matter where you are when disaster strikes, you'll know what to do and where to go.

For the second step of Prepare, Plan and Stay Informed, has several great suggestions, as well as some tools to help you with family disaster planning.

PhoneBe sure to include an out-of-town contact on your contact list, as sometimes long-distance service is available when local service isn't.

Not only does everyone in your family need to know contact numbers, they also need the ability to make the call. In addition to cell phones, give each family member a pre-paid phone card with contact numbers written on it in permanent ink. This is a great way of ensuring they can communicate in an emergency.

SMS and tweetsSometimes, you can communicate through SMS (Short Message Service) Text when voice calls won't go through. Practice that capability with your family, if its available.
Emergency Alert Systems

Finally, family members should subscribe to any emergency alert system available. Texas A&M uses a Code Maroon system which uses SMS to notify students, faculty and staff of emergencies effecting the flagship campus. Twitter also has become an alert system of late, with the ability to transmit alerts to mobile devices from Code Maroon, as well as the Bryan Fire Department and other government organizations.

In addition, here are two emergency planning tools for every family.

Family Emergency Plan page on will walk you through the process of consolidating the information you'll need in case of an emergency. This tool takes a bit of time, but the resulting plan is comprehensive. Do you know the address of your child’s school? Where will your family meet if your neighborhood has been evacuated?

And, the
Share Emergency Information page on helps you create e-mail text containing basic emergency information that you can share with others.

Later this week, we'll discuss in detail how to stay informed when disaster strikes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

National Preparedness Month

Hurricane Ike - September 2008 National Weather Service Photo

Along with all the other seasonal activities, September is National Preparedness Month. Unfortunately, we’ve gained quite a bit of recent experience dealing with disasters and their consequences for life and property.

While disaster can strike any month of the year, the memory of Hurricane Ike, which struck the Gulf Coast one year ago this month, reminds us this is a perfect time to get prepared. Preparedness is the key to providing safety, security and confidence for you and your family during difficult times.

The Texas Engineering Extension Service has helped people around the world prepare for disaster for decades, and, throughout September, we are focusing on how we can personally prepare for the unexpected.

A visit to details three important steps we can take to be prepared, so we’re going to tackle one step per week during September.

1 - Get a Basic Emergency Supply Kit

The first items in the kit support basics for human survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth. Then, we add further supplies for communication and comfort.

Purchasing the supplies for a basic kit costs about $130, and we have examples of’s emergency supply kit at the Henry D. Smith Operations Complex, the Emergency Operations Training Center, Riverside Building #7900 and the John B. Connally Building. Go by and check them out.
Use common sense. Canned goods require a can opener and most electronics require batteries. Cars and generators don’t run well without fuel. Assess each item to make sure you have both an adequate supply, and the ancillary tools necessary to make the items functional.

Think. It’s important that everyone THINK about what’s essential for them, and incorporate those items into their emergency kit.

Ask yourself questions. Are there any items not listed in the kit that you feel are important? Where is the best place to store the emergency kit? We welcome your comments and suggestions!

Win a Basic Emergency Supply Kit - Four lucky employees will get to take a Basic Emergency Supply Kit home at the end of the month. To register, carefully read the e-mail you should’ve already received from Laura Shehan, or complete AWR-160, Terrorism Awareness for Emergency Responders, which found on

Next Thursday, we’ll visit about the importance of making a plan, so that you and your family can find each other when the unexpected strikes.