The Woodlands Township rolls out emergency preparedness plan for 2019 hurricane season

Hurricane season runs through November.

Hurricane season runs through November.

The Woodlands Township board of trustees reviewed its hurricane season emergency procedures at the June 20 meeting, introducing several new elements officials said will improve response in the coming season.

This year's hurricane season is expected to be average with about 12 storms, said Jason Washington, battalion chief for The Woodlands Fire Department. That could include two to four major hurricanes, he said.

This year marks the first in which all storms that become a tropical depression within 48 hours of landfall will be named, he said. This includes storms with circular winds less than 39 mph.

Residents can sign up for emergency notifications on the township website.

Washington reviewed the contents of a standard disaster supply list, which includes having:

  • nonperishable food and 1 gallon of water per day;

  • medicine;

  • extra cash;

  • a battery-powered radio and flashlights;

  • a portable or solar-powered USB charged for phones;

  • full gas tanks; and

  • a fire extinguisher.

Local resources include two high-water vehicles, two evacuation boats and four Zodiac boats. The Woodlands Fire Department sets an emergency action plan into motion 120 hours before landfall, Washington said.

New community resources in the form of technology include Smart911, a private website on which residents can create a safety profile consisting of information they want to provide to first responders in the event of an emergency. The service is free and can include medical information, special conditions, home and work addresses, information about pets, access information and emergency contacts.

Residents are encouraged to enroll in the service, he said.

Rave Prepare, another new service, is a vulnerable-needs registry that allows emergency services to pull up information about residents within a chosen geographic area who have registered information about their needs, Washington said. It also provides information about available physicians in the area who are signed up with the service, he said.

"This area is still prone to structural flooding," said Director Bruce Rieser, who is also chairman of the township's drainage task force. "I can't really encourage you any more strongly, ... if you don't have flood insurance, please go get flood insurance. There is no short-term solution to flooding along Spring Creek. It's important for everyone in The Woodlands to be prepared for that possibility."
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.