September is National Preparedness Month. A month dedicated to bringing awareness to the importance of disaster and emergency planning. The month-long awareness campaign is an excellent reminder that we must prepare for disasters and emergencies before they happen.
This year, Winter Storm Uri put into perspective just how unpredictable natural disasters are and how far-reaching their impact can be. And as we see with the current Tropical Storm Nicholas, we continue to see natural disasters occurring, so National Preparedness Month is the perfect time to start planning or updating your emergency plan.
The 2021 theme for the national campaign is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.” Ready.gov recommends these easy-to-follow steps to help you improve preparedness at home.
It’s important to talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster. Make sure to update your plan based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations due to the Coronavirus. To start making a plan today and protect those you love, visit Ready.gov.
Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home. Don’t forget to consider the unique needs of each member of your household, including your pets. Update your kits and supplies based on recommendations by the CDC. This should include refreshing your batteries because they can corrode over time.
Limit the impacts that disasters have on you and your family. Know the risk of disasters in your area. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards.
Talk to your kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Reassure them that they have a role to play in being ready for disasters by providing information about how they can get involved.
Other preparedness tips
What else can you do to be prepared?
- Update your emergency contact information with us so you can receive critical notifications during emergency events such as weather advisories, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) mandates, gas leaks, and more.
- Have a personal emergency plan in place to include where you will go should you have a prolonged outage. This is especially important if you rely on medical equipment or have special health conditions.
◾Keep cell phone/WiFi devices charged – Keep all mobile devices, battery-powered LED lights, flashlights, batteries, and other essential items available for an unexpected power outage. Your cell phone and other internet-enabled devices are a lifeline, so you’ll want to keep them charged and available to use during an emergency. Conserve your device’s battery life by switching it to a power-saving setting.
◾Stay informed – Follow our Facebook and Twitter sites for status updates. If possible, seek local TV or radio station weather reports. CPS Energy’s interactive Outage Map is an excellent tool for near real-time outage information. A helpful tutorial video is located at the Outage Center to familiarize yourself with this resource.
◾Make safety a priority – In the aftermath of a storm, generators are an invaluable piece of equipment that can help during an outage, but it is critical to use them safely. Running a generator improperly can be harmful and even deadly. Follow the user manual to ensure the generator is being operated properly. We’ll have more on generator safety in a future blog post.
Bottom line: Reliability, Resiliency, and Safety are three of our six Guiding Pillars, and our goal is to deliver continual service to our community, but unfortunately, outages – similar to disasters – happen. They happen for a variety of reasons and can even occur on beautiful, sunny days. While we hope you never have to activate an emergency plan, we know that having a plan in place can protect you and the ones you love.