Planning for Emergencies and Disasters in Texas
In Texas, Mayors and County Judges have responsibility for emergency preparedness and response within their local jurisdictions. These officials may appoint an Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC) to manage day-to-day program activities. Local emergency management and homeland security programs include threat identification and prevention activities, emergency planning, providing or arranging training for local officials and emergency responders, planning and conducting drills and exercises, carrying out public education relating to known hazards, designing and implementing hazard mitigation programs, coordinating emergency response operations during incidents and disasters, and carrying out recovery activities in the aftermath of a disaster.
Local emergency management and homeland security organizations may be organized at the city level, at the county level or as an inter-jurisdictional program that includes one or more counties and multiple cities. Local emergency management organizations may be organized as part of the Mayor or County Judge's staff, as a separate office or agency, as part of the local fire department or law enforcement agency, or in other ways. Local emergency management and homeland security agencies may be identified as emergency management offices or agencies, homeland security offices or agencies, or some combination of the two.
Most local governments have an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staffed by members of its various departments that is activated to manage the response to major threats and incidents and coordinate internal and external resource support. Some local governments have an alternate or mobile EOC as well. Most local governments use the Incident Command System (ICS) as their incident management scheme. Under ICS, an Incident Commander typically directs the on-scene response by local responders from a field command post set up at or near the incident site. Responders from other jurisdictions and state and federal responders that have been called on to assist when local resources are inadequate to deal with a major emergency are integrated into the local incident command system.
Citizens should be aware of who their local emergency management contacts are for their county of residence.
Citizens Basic Planning Materials:
Texas Law on Emergency Notifications
Allows a public service provider to enter into a contract for an emergency notification system, provided that the system meets certain requirements. These requirements include transmitting the emergency message in at least two formats (e.g. audio and text messages) and allowing recipients to select the language they would like to receive messages in. See Senate Bill 924 from the 82nd legislative session for more information.
Promotes cooperation between public service providers issuing emergency notifications and local emergency management directors. See Senate Bill 925 from the 82nd legislative session for more information.
Are You Ready? An In-depth 204 page Guide to Citizen Preparedness: Are You Ready? also provides in-depth information on all hazards including what to do before, during, and after each hazard type. The following hazards are covered: Floods, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Thunderstorms and Lightning, Winter Storms and Extreme Cold, Extreme Heat, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Landslide and Debris Flows (Mudslide), Tsunamis, Fires, Wildfires, Hazardous Materials Incidents, Household Chemical Emergencies, Nuclear Power Plant, and Terrorism (including Explosion, Biological, Chemical, Nuclear, and Radiological hazards).
Get valuable information on Making a Plan, Building a Kit that meets your families' needs and viewing Texas specific Videos on the importance of preparation:
http://www.texasprepares.org/ (English & Spanish, Checklists in various languages)
The Texas Division of Emergency Management has a variety of materials for preparedness and safety tips for different types of disasters and emergencies, including an evacuation checklist.
Basic Information regarding Emergency Preparedness for Texans who are Deaf:
Surviving Disaster Videos link on www.accessibleemergencyinfo.com (Sign Language, Braille, Large Print options)
The Texas Emergency Portal includes information on the hurricane season: preparing for a storm, evacuating to safety, accessing government resources, dealing with emergencies and avoiding scams and frauds.
The Red Cross also has materials in other languages, as well as large print and text only, to help people with disabilities prepare for a disaster.
DESCRIPTION: 2-1-1 (https://www.211texas.org/211/) provides a voluntary registry for people who need assistance and evacuation in the case of a hurricane or natural disaster. The public may register year-round. Registry information will be forwarded to local Offices of Emergency Management (OEMs). Local OEMs have the responsibility for coordinating evacuations.
State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR): STEAR provides citizens with a means to voluntarily register their needs during an emergency response. This registry was developed for people who need assistance during an emergency response, including evacuation assistance during a hurricane response. The public may register for the Texas Emergency Assistance Registry year-round. Participating local Offices of Emergency Management (OEMs) have access to this information. Individuals registering should understand that the Emergency Assistance Registry assists emergency officials in planning for emergency events. Having your information helps to determine what kinds of services might be required during a disaster, and helps responders plan and train more effectively. Communities use the information in different ways, so realize that having your information in the registry does not guarantee that you will receive a specific service during an emergency. Registration is not a substitute for developing and maintaining your family disaster plan.
Any Texan is eligible to register.
There are 3 ways to register:
- On the internet at: https://STEAR.dps.texas.gov
- Call 2-1-1 and select Option 4 to register or call 1-877-541-7905 from your preferred phone relay option. For more information on the 2-1-1 system please go to https://www.211texas.org/cms/.
- Either e-mail to STEAR@dps.texas.gov or fax to 1-866-557-1074
More information related to the STEAR program can be found at http://www.dps.texas.gov/dem/stear/public.htm
N2N: Neighbor to Neighbor Initiative
The N2N or Neighbor to Neighbor is a challenge to the Disability Community and to Community organizations to reach out to citizens with and without disabilities who have medical or access and functional needs to make a personalized emergency plan in their home and neighborhood in non-disaster times. It is based on the premise of taking personal responsibility for preparedness efforts.
Get eye to eye with people with or without disabilities who have medical or access and functional needs in their homes, in your community to create a personalized emergency management plan based on the N2N toolkit. The N2N Toolkit is based on an all hazards format to leave or shelter in place. Make a Kit, Make a Plan and Stay Informed.
Participants: Any organization at the local level, for example:
- Boy Scouts
- Girl Scouts
- Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster
- Volunteer Disability CERT Teams
- Centers for Independent Living
- Mayor's Committees for People with Disabilities
- Disability Organizations such as the ARC, Easter Seals, etc.
- Associations or Community organizations for the Deaf and/or Blind
Get a Kit
The Texas Department of State Health Services has Texas themed video and preparation materials on their site: http://www.texasprepares.org/
Hold Your Own Neighborhood Screening
- Resources for participants: http://www.texasprepares.org/English/Resources.htm#toolkit
- Emergency Supply Checklist: http://www.texasprepares.org/English/disaster_kit_list.shtml
- Recommended Items in a Basic Kit: http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit
- Planning for Pets: http://www.ready.gov/caring-animals
- Ready Kids: http://www.ready.gov/kids/
Make a Plan
- Plan for All Hazards: http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
- People with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs Preparation: http://www.ready.gov/individuals-access-functional-needs
- Businesses: http://www.ready.gov/business
- Caring for Animals: http://www.ready/gov/caring-animals
- Cold Weather Preparedness (Word document)
- Cold Weather Preparedness (PDF)
For Texans, preparedness must now account for man-made disasters as well as natural ones. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.
After a Disaster
Disaster Recovery Guide and eBook (download information)
This disaster recovery guide provides simple information on how individuals, families, and businesses can recover from a disaster such as a wildfire, hurricane, severe weather, and more. Created by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, The Texas A&M System. An eBook is available for download to many mobile devices. A PDF version is also available in English and Spanish.
Neighborhood Heroes: Press Release Templates
- Texas Neighborhood Heroes: Hurricanes
- Texas Neighborhood Heroes: Extreme Heat
- Texas Neighborhood Heroes: Wildfires
- Texas Neighborhood Heroes: Tornadoes
- Texas Neighborhood Heroes: Flu
- Texas Neighborhood Heroes: Floods
Resources for Emergency Responders
About the State of Texas Functional Needs Support Services Plan: An interdisciplinary committee, including Texans with disabilities met to develop this tool to help emergency managers plan for the whole Community.
About the Mobile TIPS: Project REDD, part of the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University, has developed Mobile TIPS, a mobile-based application for first responders that provides essential, detailed instructions and resources about helping people with disabilities and functional or access needs. The Mobile TIPS is a free access mobile application provided at no charge to first responders, disaster service providers, and voluntary agencies. TIPS provides guidelines on including individuals with disabilities in evacuation and sheltering procedures, as well as contact information for organizations and advocacy groups knowledgeable about access and functional needs. The Directory integrates a database of over 5,000 organizations and services searchable by inputting a zip code or functional need category.
About the "Getting Real" Promising Practices: This resource features Promising Practices from the 2011 Getting Real Inclusive Emergency Management Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference focused on building partnerships and sharing promising practices related to inclusive emergency management from all across the nation. This page provides a brief summary of each promising practice, a video link and transcript link to over 40 best practices in inclusive emergency management nationwide and features local, regional, state and federal emergency managers, disability community advocates and educators at all levels.
Emergency Response for People Who Have Access and Functional Needs: Resources and Training Tools for First Responders and Volunteers
Emergency responders and volunteers have varying levels of familiarity with people with disabilities and those who have access and functional needs. The purpose of this information is to provide emergency personnel and volunteers with reference tools and education that will provide guidance for assisting people with disabilities and those who have access and functional needs during the response and recovery phases of an emergency situation.
Watch the video: A Closer Look: The Community Café. Please switch to the DVS/SAP - Descriptive Video Service with DVS/SAP. When you do, you'll see captioning (icon on far right of screen that looks like a word bubble with two lines) and Audio Description.
What is Audio Description? Audio Description is the narrator who voices out visual elements of the film so that people who are blind can have a context for the non-verbal elements shown in the film.
Personal Assistive Devices (Full Video) (Audio Description and Captioning Capability)
Included in this video is information on:
Flashing Fire Alarms
Voice to Text
Blind and Low Vision
Flip Book Guide
This is an electronic version of the Emergency Response for People Who Have Access and Functional Needs: A Guide for First Responders. (May be printed in paper version).
Texas Law on Emergency Notifications
- Allows a public service provider to enter into a contract for an emergency notification system, provided that the system meets certain requirements. These requirements include transmitting the emergency message in at least two formats (e.g. audio and text messages) and allowing recipients to select the language they would like to receive messages in. See Senate Bill 924 from the 82nd legislative session for more information.
- Promotes cooperation between public service providers issuing emergency notifications and local emergency management directors. See Senate Bill 925 from the 82nd legislative session for more information.