Williamson County’s emergency management team has been assessing and preparing since the 2021 storm. We have names and direct phone numbers to those in the electricity supply business that should have our backs for immediate notifications and other information. We have processes to sustain automatic backup switchover to diesel-powered generators for all emergency radio towers for the county’s first responders. Emergency Medical Services has traction socks for the ambulances should we receive significant snow or ice this year. Our cities and municipal utility district's have worked to implement strategies and equipment to secure continuous water and wastewater flow for their clients. All have worked to identify sites for shelters within their respective jurisdictions.
But what about you? Are you thinking someone else will be responsible for you? How many of you who own homes or condos have actually located your water valve in the yard? Do you own a water valve key needed to shut off the water supply to your home? Do you remember where you put it? Did you wrap any exposed pipes in your attic? What’s in your pantry? Do you have food that doesn’t require cooking and water to drink for seven days for your family? How about a non-electric can opener? If your waterline freezes or must be turned off because a pipe broke, how will you flush toilets?
What if that alert comes across your phone telling you to evacuate immediately? Do you have a list of all your on-line accounts and passwords? Do you have your prescriptions and your emergency contacts all on your cell phone? If you, or someone you know, is medically fragile, are you registered on the Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (stear.tdem.texas.gov) if your life cannot be sustained in the absence of electricity (dialysis, oxygen, etc.). If you and your family members get separated in an evacuation, do you have a plan?
The Wilco Emergency Management office has lists of items for an emergency supply kit for at-home or evacuations. Visit wilco.org/Departments/Emergency-Management for all your shopping, planning and preparation needs.
This year, let’s all be ready. Get ready while life is calm and make sure all your family members prepare and know what to do. Keep your gas tank nearly full, sitting in a line at a gas station is not an evacuation.
We’re all in this together!