If you’re new to San Antonio, or if you’ve been living here for a while and just want to be better prepared for emergencies, this blog post is for you! In this blog post, we’ll outline a few things that you should keep in mind when it comes to emergency preparedness. Whether you’re living in San Antonio year-round or just visiting for a while, these tips will help you stay safe in case of an emergency. Thanks for reading!
How to prepare for natural disasters
Every year, thousands of people are affected by natural catastrophes such as floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and windstorms. You should be aware of your hazards and be prepared to defend yourself, your family, and your community.
Recognizing an imminent hazard and knowing what to do to protect yourself and your family can allow you to take effective precautions before the occurrence and aid in recovery afterward.
There are some things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as putting together a supply kit and creating a family emergency plan, these are applicable to all types of threats. However, each situation is different, and knowing what to do in response to each threat will influence the specific decisions and preparations you make. You are preparing for an emergency by learning about these unique hazards.
San Antonio, TX has an extremely low earthquake risk, with only two earthquakes recorded since 1931. According to the USGS database, there is a 0.55% risk of a large earthquake occurring within 50 kilometers of San Antonio, TX within the next 50 years. In 1982, a 3.0 magnitude earthquake struck within 30 miles of San Antonio, TX. Although, that doesn’t mean that you should not prepare for it. Here are some emergency preparedness tips to keep you and your family safe if earthquakes ever occur:
- Your children should know the right way to DUCK, COVER, and HOLD.
- Know the exits of your house and plan for a second exit.
- Stay away from glass, hanging objects, furniture, and light fixtures.
- Be sure to turn off the gas to your stoves.
- Move to an open area.
- Know the shelters and emergency hotlines.
Texas, San Antonio “One of North America’s most flood-prone regions” San Antonio is a populous area in one of North America’s most flood-prone areas. Although it is not the only area in Texas that has experienced flooding. Texas has flash flood alleys, a region of the state where heavy rainfall has a high probability of causing flooding. This region stretches from San Antonio to Austin, Waco, and Dallas.
Historical data indicates that certain regions of the city are prone to flooding, particularly flash floods. San Antonio experienced 129 flood incidents between 1993 and 2014, resulting in 16 deaths and 507 injuries. It is also worth noting that the San Antonio River experienced severe flooding in 1845, 1865, 1880, 1899, and twice in 1913. Living in San Antonio, you may experience a flash flood, so it’s important for you to be ready. Here are some emergency preparedness tips to do when one occurs:
- Move to higher ground immediately or remain on high ground.
- Continue to monitor the news for emergency updates.
- Follow the directions of public safety personnel. If you are urged to evacuate, do so right away.
- If you must evacuate your home, pack only the necessities and your pets. Many pets die as a result of flooding around the world because they are chained or caged.
- Avoid driving on flooded roads. Stay in your car if it becomes stuck in fast-moving water. If the water inside the vehicle is increasing, seek safety on the roof.
- Keep a safe distance from downed power wires. Always presume that a downed electrical line is still live. Floods pose a major risk of electrocution because electrical currents can pass through water.
- Know the emergency hotlines and shelters around San Antonio.
Although San Antonio is far from the Gulf of Mexico to suffer a full-fledged hurricane, remnants of intense storms, winds, and flooding can occur. The distance between the Gulf Coast to San Antonio, Texas is just too great for a storm to maintain its strength and pace. However, a hurricane can still make landfall in San Antonio, as it did in early September 1921, hitting regions of Mexico as well as parts of Texas. So what do you do during a hurricane? Here are some tips:
- Know the evacuation shelters and emergency numbers.
- Gather your survival kits.
- Evacuate your home if you are in proximity. Make sure to keep a head count for your family and pets.
- Follow the roads recommended by the emergency workers.
If you decide to stay in your home then you should always try to reinforce your windows or stay away from them. If you have a basement, then it should be your go-to safe place, if not, then a place where there are no windows and has a strong foundation. Keep your emergency kits near all the time and listen to your radio or TV for updates. Always be prepared to leave your house and pack the necessities. Keep your home upgraded as well as your garage doors.
On Tuesday, May 27, 1997, the National Weather Service forecasted 20 tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio-Austin areas throughout the afternoon and evening hours. The episode lasted about six hours, resulting in the deaths of 28 people and more than $128 million in damage. Although San Antonio’s position in the central part of the state keeps it from harm’s way of “Tornado Alley“, there will still be instances in the future when this city may still be affected. So what can you do before and during a tornado disaster? Here are some emergency preparedness tips:
- Prepare an emergency/survival kit.
- List all the emergency hotlines.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system.
- Know the nearest evacuation shelters.
- Include your pets in your family’s emergency plan.
- Know the proximity of the tornado.
During a tornado, you must always seek shelter in a bunker, basement, or wherever there is no glass nor objects that may fall on you. If you are outside, then seek shelter in an open field or a sturdy building structure. However, if you are on a bridge or below an overpass, then you should get out of there immediately and abandon your cars. Overpasses serve as a wind tunnel, increasing the speed of incoming winds inside.
Although we hope you never have to use them, here are some emergency preparedness tips for natural disasters. If a natural disaster does occur, be sure to stay safe and contact us if you need assistance with your garage door. We’re always here to help our community in times of need.