• Free Spring & Summer Preparedness Resources


    Spring and Summer are certainly two joyous seasons. From the perfume of fresh flowers blooming & the symphony of birds chirping, to the scent of sunblock & sand between your toes... Although, most do not consider that natural catastrophes such as severe weather, floods, extreme heat, and wildfires are very likely during Spring and Summer! Resolve to be ready by taking a moment to read the tips below. Share this and encourage your family and friends to prepare throughout the year for all weather hazards during spring and summer 2017.


    Make a family emergency communication plan and include pets. Identify an out of town emergency contact to coordinate information with family/friends. Check on neighbors. Keep an emergency kit wherever you spend time: home, car, work, etc. Download the FEMA App and set up local alerts. Listen to local officials by radio, TV, or social media and take action. Practice your preparedness plans with a drill or exercise. Take a first aid class so you can help until first responders arrive. Learn more! Read our Disaster & Survival Forum and remember power outages are the most common emergency (Why? Because almost all other emergencies cause power outages).


    Severe Weather

    If ordered to evacuate, take action immediately. Know the route and plan where to go.
    Identify a safe location, in case of tornado. Stock emergency shelter and sleeping supplies, from blankets and tarps to ponchos and body warmers.


    Never drive or walk through flooded streets; Turn Around, Don’t Drown. Check your flood insurance policies to ensure you have enough coverage. Keep an automotive emergency kit in your vehicle so that one is available when disaster strikes

    Rain Ponchos

    Keep dry during rainfall or a storm to prevent sickness. Our adult and child rain ponchos are about wallet-size when folded, yet when opened, are large enough to adequately cover the body to protect against the elements.


    Extreme Heat

    Extreme heat can be deadly. Stay inside where it is cool. Wear cool clothes and change activities to stay safe. Never leave children or pets in a car. Stock a Mylar solar sleeping bag / blanket, which can be used as a heat shield.

    Wildfire Safety

    Report a wildfire if you see one; you may be the first to see it.
    Wildfires can kill. If ordered to evacuate, know the route and plan where to go. Stock up evacuation & fire supplies at home.

    Children & Youth + Back to School

    Ensure children are included in preparedness conversations.
    Know the emergency plan for your child’s school, college and child care facility.
    Practice evacuation plans and other emergency procedures with children on a regular basis.
    Make sure children have emergency contacts memorized or written down in a secure place. Purchase your child a kids first aid and child id kit.

    Image of an emergency survival kit in a port a potty bucket with food, water and supplies

    Disaster Kits

    Survival Kits For Emergency Disaster Preparedness

    Image of long lasting emergency food rations

    Food & Water

    Emergency Food Rations & Water Supply

    Image of a two person emergency sleeping bag and a Mylar Solar Emergency Space Blanket

    Shelter & Sleeping

    Emergency Blankets, Tents, Canopies, Tarps & More

    Image of whistles and short-range radio walkie talkies

    Signal & Messaging

    Devices for Signaling & Communicating in Emergencies

    Image of a Swiss Army style knife showing the concept of a multi-function tool

    Survival Tools

    Fire Starters, Survival Knives, SOL, Leatherman & much more

    Graphical portrayal through photos of a flashlight and waterproof matches showing the need for light and warmth in an emergency

    Emergency Heat & Light

    Warmers, Heating, Candles-Flashlights-Lanterns-GlowSticks

    Image of the CERT (Community Emergecy Response Team) Logo in an ebroidered PAtch (to siginify that First Aid Mart Carries a full line of C.E.R.T.Gear)

    CERT Gear & Supplies

    CERT Kits & vests, caps, shirts, logo patches, fieldbooks +

    Image of an American Red Cross Emergency Disaster Supplies kit with contents spread out to show all thetypes of food, water, emergency shelter and signaling required in an earthquake or other disaster.

    Red Cross Supplies

    American Red Cross Emergency Kits: Be Red Cross Ready

    Image of the four stages of Triage: Minor delayed care / can delay up to three hours - Delayed urgent care / can delay up to one hour - Immediate immediate care / life-threatening - Deceased (Morgue) victim is dead or mortally wounded / no care

    Triage & Incident Command

    S.T.A.R.T. Triage Tags, Tape, Kits + ICS Gear and Supplies

    Image of Toilet Paper and Hand Sanitizer - to show the importance of considering sanitation needs in gering up for emergencies and disaster survival

    Sanitation & Hygiene

    Personal Hygiene Kits, Toilets & Chemicals + Sanitary Items

    AAA Emergency Roadside Kit image to depict the need to prepare personal and company vehicles for emergency situations - emergencies occur while away from home adnd work as well.

    Roadside+Auto Emergency

    Auto Emergency Survival Kits, Roadside Tools & Survival Items

    Imageof two empty backas - building an emergency disasster preparedness and survival kit starts with considering what to pack all your gear in!

    Empty Bags & Containers

    Backpacks, Duffels, Buckets and Rolling kits to build your own

    Photo of a Search and Rescue kit showing the typical SAR Gear needs such as; helmet, ropes, etc.

    SAR Gear: Rescue Stuff

    Search & Rescue Kits and Essential SAR Provisions

    Cute picture of a dog wearing a stethoscope.

    Disaster Supplies for Pets

    Disaster Emergency Kits for Dogs and Cats + Survival Food

    Image of a FIre Extinguisher and a Fireman's Axe to signify preparedness for fires and evacuation

    Fire Safety & Evacuation

    Caution Tapes, Escape Masks & Ladders + Fire Safety Gear

    Image of survival guides and DVDs - learn about preparedness, sheltering in place, and survival

    Survival Guides & Videos

    Disaster Planning Books, Checklists & Videos for Survival

    Image showing a bright and highlt visible safety vest with reflective strips

    Hi-Vis Safety Vests

    CERT Vests & Bright Reflective Safety Vests for Visibility

    Image of a EMT/Paramedic style Trauma REsponse go Bag with the typical emergency medical equipment required for field traums rescue.

    Trauma & Field Medicine

    1st Aid, Trauma, Responder, Field Medical & Mass Casualty

    Also See...

  • Moving to Higher Ground

    It is amazing how many people ignore warnings and directions that are provided for their own safety - often to risk their lives in order to protect some replaceable materials goods.harris

    During Memorial Day weekend in 2015, flood warnings were issued in many parts of Texas as record amounts of torrential rains were unleashed on already saturated grounds. Many residents in harm’s way had to flee their homes and seek temporary shelter, while hundreds of other homeowners previously in the high-risk flood plain were no longer threatened.

    harris 2They had been able to move from homes previously subject to repetitive flooding thanks to the Harris County Flood Control District’s (HCFCD) Voluntary Buyout Program. Buyouts, also called acquisition and relocation projects, allow residents to voluntarily sell their repetitive loss properties to the county and receive fair market value before disaster strikes again. The houses are cleared from the floodplain, which is returned to its natural state.

    “Nearly 550 homes would have flooded during the May event had they not been purchased via the District’s Voluntary Home Buyout program,” said HCFCD Acquisition Program Manager James Wade. “Approximately $12.4 million in flood damages were avoided as a result of these 550 buyouts.”

    The acquired homes were located within the high-risk floodplain and subject to repetitive flooding. Structures in this situation were typically built years before detailed maps and studies were available and floodplain management regulations adopted by the county and cities.

    The initial start of the program was in 1985, although federal funds were not granted until the early nineties. The state and federal partnership began in 1995.

    Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) buyouts or acquisition projects are administered by the state. The federal portion of the cost is 75 percent and the non-federal share is 25 percent. To be eligible, the participating property must be located in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and has a FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plan.  Additionally, the property must be within a mapped special flood hazard area, subject to repetitive flooding and the purchase must be cost beneficial.

    Since 1995, more than 2,000 structures have been purchased. About 1,100 properties were funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s HMGP and more than 900 homes were acquired with district funds. An additional 30 structures were purchased by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

    The application process took one to two years from the date application was submitted before a determination was made concerning eligibility. Since the buyouts occurred, the area is now deed restricted and cannot be developed with permanent structures in the future.

    A major benefit was that the buyout program enabled affected families to relocate to higher ground. The safety risk for homeowners, as well as first responders, was eliminated. The buyouts saved the government money because flood insurance payments and federal assistance payments were reduced. After the homes were purchased and demolished, the floodplain was restored to its natural and beneficial function for storm water storage.  Finally, open spaces were available for use as community amenities, such as parks, gardens and playing fields.

    The Harris County voluntary buyout program was a win-win situation to everyone involved.

    For additional information visit: https://www.hcfcd.org/our-programs/property-acquisition-program/voluntary-acquisition/voluntary-home-buyout/

  • Wet?

    During this first week of National Preparedness Month, the focus for preparedness across the land is flooding and flood safety. Are you prepared for high water? How much do you know about flooding? It's not just a coastal issue...


  • While spring and its threats are still with us, meteorological summer is already here.

    Turn Around Don't Drown®

    Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters.

    People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers that warn you the road is flooded. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.

    Never Drive or Walk into Flood Waters - Turn Around Don’t Drown!

    Flooding is one of the leading causes of weather related fatalities in the U.S. On average, flooding claims nearly 90 lives each year. More than half of these deaths occur in motor vehicles when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways. This happens because people underestimate the force and power of water, especially when it is moving.

    Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock over and carry off an adult. Twelve inches of water can float a small car. If that water is moving, it can carry that car away. Eighteen to twenty-four inches of flowing water can carry away most vehicles, including large SUVs. It is impossible to tell the exact depth of water covering a roadway or the condition of the road below the water. This is especially true at night when your vision is more limited. It is never safe to drive or walk through flood waters. Any time you come to a flooded road, walkway, or path, follow this simple rule: Turn Around Don’t Drown.

  • Keep Calm and be Prepared

    Extra Caution for Coastal Communities

    We are Ambassadors of NOAA & The Weather Ready Nation Program! We are Ambassadors of NOAA & The Weather Ready Nation Program!

    National Preparedness Month is next Month - If you live along a coast, remember that there are approximately 13,000 miles of coastline in the United States. These areas are often vulnerable and prone to hazards like hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding and storm-surges. To protect you and your family, it’s best to be prepared for those hazards before they occur. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration emphasizes the importance of coastal communities:

    • Developing a family disaster plan;
    • Planning and practicing evacuation routes; and
    • Talking to Insurance Agent about flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program.

    Additionally, remember to protect your home by bringing outdoor furniture and other items indoors when a storm is eminent, remove any debris from your yard, trim low hanging limbs and shrubs and clean gutters and downspouts. For more information on preparing for floods and hurricanes search "Hurricane" or "Flood" in the search bar above for preparation resources for the hazards that are particularly troublesome for coastal communities.

    Also see:

  • Home Flood Repairs

    As part of getting ready for America's PrepareAthon, we've talked about what to do to prepare for and survive a Flood... what about after?

    Floods Tab 2 of 4_1Repairing your home after a flood can be a stressful endeavor.  That’s why FEMA and the American Red Cross developed a comprehensive book to help get you started on the road to recovery. “Repairing Your Flooded Home” gives step-by-step advice to make the process less overwhelming.

    Your home and its contents may look beyond repair, but many of your belongings can be restored. If you do things correctly, your flooded home can be cleaned up, dried out, rebuilt and reoccupied sooner than you think.

    FloodCopies of this book are also available at your local Red Cross or by sending a written request to FEMA at:

    PO Box 2012 Jessup, MD 20794-2012

    America’s PrepareAthon! will also put the focus on floods with the first national day of action on April 30. You can learn various ways to take action before a flood impacts you. Plus, you can take advantage of free resources available on the America’s PrepareAthon! website including How to Prepare for a Flood. Be sure to keep your eye out for more information regarding the website early next week! This document explains how to protect yourself and your property, and details the steps to take now so that you can act quickly when you, your home, or your business is in danger.

  • REMINDER: America’s PrepareAthon! Google+ Hangout and Website LIVE #PrepareAthon

    America’s PrepareAthon!, a new, grassroots campaign for action intended to build a more prepared and resilient nation:

    Watch and participate in PrepareAthon Google+ Hangout: https://plus.google.com/events/cjvrlhffsfjj93mniritl76bm00

    PrepareAthon YouTube Page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nMXu2GriQ0

    America’s PrepareAthon! Website is live and has many resources to help you or your organization participate in the national campaign. Go to America’s PrepareAthon! Website: http://www.ready.gov/preparePrepper

    Learn more at the White House Blog: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/04/04/america-s-prepareathon

    Ask questions via Twitter using:  #PrepareAthon.

    Please visit: http://www.ready.gov/prepare

    On the website, you will be able to:

    ·         Learn more about the America’s PrepareAthon! campaign

    ·         Register your participation

    ·         Get Resources that will help you in taking action

    America's PrepareAthon! is an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and communities to prepare for specific hazards through drills, group discussions, and exercises.  The first National Day of Action is scheduled for April 30, 2014 and will revolve around taking the actions to prepare for these four specific hazards: Tornadoes, Wildfires, Floods, and Hurricanes.

    The website contains resources on how to prepare for these specific hazards, including resources for both individuals and organizations.  These “How to Prepare” guides provide the basics for each hazard, explains how to protect yourself and your property, and details the steps to take now so that you can act quickly when you, your home, or your business is in danger.  Other resources on the website include promotional materials and maps that will help you determine what hazards you and your community can prepare for.  First-Aid-Mart-Best-First-Aid

  • Severe Weather Preparedness Week: Floods

    Flooding still remains the most costly natural hazard disaster in the United States. But did you know that flood losses are not typically covered under renter and homeowner insurance policies? With flooding causing nearly $24 billion in damages within the last 10 years, ensuring that your family is capable of bouncing back from a flood should be a very real concern.

    Less than twenty days after Illinois homeowner Rich Smith closed on his house located by a creek, it flooded. Weeks after moving in, Rich's new home was completely under water and he lost nearly everything. Thankfully, Rich was prompted by his banker to get flood insurance and was able to quickly rebuild.

    Watch Rich's story below 

    Why should I have flood insurance?  Doesn’t my homeowners or commercial property insurance already cover flood damage?

    Most homeowners and commercial property insurance policies do not cover flood damage.  Floods are the #1 natural disaster in the United States however.  They are more common than tornadoes, earthquakes and fires.  They have caused nearly $24 billion in U.S. flood losses in the last 10 years.  There is a 26% chance of experiencing a flood during the life of a 30-year mortgage in high-risk areas. If your home or business is in a high-risk area, it is more than twice as likely to experience a flood than a fire.

    What about flood related disaster assistance?  Why not just use that assistance instead of having flood insurance?

    When flooding causes extensive and widespread damage, the Governor or President may make a disaster proclamation.  These proclamations can make disaster-related money assistance available to affected property owners.  It is important to know that this disaster assistance is typically not a grant or forgivable loan however.  Instead, it is typically a loan that you must repay with interest.  For a $50,000 loan at 4% interest, your monthly payment would be around $240 a month (i.e., $2,880 a year) for 30 years.  Compare that to the premium for a $100,000 flood insurance policy, which is around $400 a year ($33 a month).

    Why not just wait to purchase flood insurance until the flood is a few days away?

    It takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it is important to buy insurance before the floodwaters start to rise. Aside from snow melt floods, most floods occur with much less than 30 days advance notice.

    An exception to the 30 day waiting period is when flood insurance is required as part of a mortgage. Flood insurance is mandatory if your property is in a high-risk area or a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and you have a Federally-backed mortgage.

    Is flood insurance available only for my home?

    No. You can purchase flood insurance for both residential and commercial coverage.

    Is flood insurance available only for locations in the flood plain?

    No. You can purchase flood insurance for nearly any location, whether or not it is in a flood plain. Everyone lives in a flood zone but some areas are at a higher risk of flooding than others. It is good to buy flood insurance for properties outside the flood plain. Nearly 25% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to low-risk areas (i.e., outside the flood plain).

    I am in a low-risk area for flooding. This risk will never change over time, right?

    Not necessarily. The risk of flooding at the same location may increase or decrease over time. New land development can increase flood risk.  Increases in precipitation amounts may also increase the flood risk. So just because you are in a low-risk area now does not necessarily mean that your risk of flooding will stay that way. You may be in a moderate-to high-risk area later.

    So if I can purchase flood insurance for nearly any location, are there any other limitations?

    Yes. You can purchase flood insurance only if your community participates in the NFIP. You can find a list of communities that participate in the NFIP on the FEMA Web site at:


    What if my community does not participate in the NFIP?

    Your community must be an active participant in the NFIP in order for you to purchase flood insurance. According to FEMA, a community must submit an Application for Participating in the National Flood Insurance Program - FF 81-64.

    You can find more information on NFIP application procedures, including contacts on the FEMA Web site at:


    How much does flood insurance cost?

    Flood insurance premiums take into account the risk of flooding as well as the amount of coverage you desire. If you live in a moderate - to low-risk area and are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, your flood insurance premium may be as low as $119 a year, including coverage for your property’s contents. The average flood insurance policy costs less than $570 per year.

    To find your flood risk and estimate your flood insurance premium, use the One-Step Flood Risk Profile on the left hand side of the FloodSmart.gov Web page.

    Where exactly do I go to purchase flood insurance?

    In most cases, you can purchase flood insurance through those insurance agents who have agreed to work with the NFIP.  They may or may not be the insurance agent you presently use for homeowners or commercial property insurance.  You can find a list of flood insurance agents near you on the NFIP Web site.

    Make sure you know the coverage and limitations of flood insurance before you buy.

    Before you purchase a flood insurance policy, it is important to review what is covered and what is not covered by flood insurance. You should also compare the coverage and exclusions of both flood insurance and your existing homeowners or commercial property insurance. Make sure you understand what would be covered and what would not be covered if a flood does impact your property. See your flood insurance agent for details.

    For more information:

    You can find more information on the NFIP at the FloodSmart Web site. You can also use the OneStep Flood Risk Profile on the left hand side of the page to find your flood risk and estimate your flood insurance premium.

    Facts and figures came from the FloodSmart.gov Web site

    Prepare! Prepare!
  • Flooding and Destruction

    Flooding - it's a Disaster often not considered... many areas prepare for Hurricane, Earthquake, Tornado, Tsunami, but a Flood can happen during high rains, or even on a clear sunny day if a Dam gives way or a Levy breaks...

    Floods are one of the most common hazards in the U.S. They can be local, impacting a neighborhood or very large, affecting multiple states. Thousands of residents in Boulder, CO and nearby towns were recently forced to evacuate after days of heavy rainfall caused mudslides and flash floods. If a flood is developing in your area, would you know what to do?  Here are some tips before the flood hits:

    • ShovelConduct a household inventory;
    • Build an emergency supply kit;
    • Plan for evacuation; and
    • Make a pet plan.

    If a flood has already hit your community, follow these tips:

    • Beware of hazards in your home;
    • File your flood insurance claim; and
    • Take proper steps to clean up your home.

    The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes also offers valuable information to help prepare for and recover from a flood.   Download the FLASH Weather Alerts mobile app today for weather warnings, alerts and tips to keep your family safe.

    Disaster, Survival, Preparation

    Disaster, Survival, & Preparation!
    Think about preparedness; at home, at work, at school, even in your car.
    What should you do? Check your Emergency Plan and Evacuation Routes everywhere you normally spend time. Make sure you have an out of State contact for you, your friends and your family (long distance phone service is usually restored before local - and mobile services and internet will likely not work in a major disaster.)
    Of course, too, you should Check your Emergency Supplies:

    • Count your stock... is it enough?
    • Check your expiration dates (food, water, batteries)
    • Keep cash on hand
    • Don't let your gas tank get below half-full
    • Think-Plan-Prepare-Survive!

    Survival Gear: Disaster, Emergency Preparedness, Camping & Survival Supply
    72 Hour Emergency Preparedness Supplies for Earthquake, Hurricane, Tornado, Twister, Nuclear Disasters, Wilderness Survival & More… C.E.R.T. & F.E.M.A.

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