Hurricanes are the most powerful storms on Earth because of their size and potential for destruction.
A combination of powerful winds and deadly storm surge make hurricanes so dangerous.
With Hurricane Ike five years behind us, we must ensure that our families, businesses, agencies and institutions are prepared for the next one.
Before the storm
Evacuation: Know where you and your family will go as well as how you will get there in the event of an evacuation. See the evacuation map on Page E10 to determine your best route. Evacuations will be called for by Zip Code.
Communication Plan: Make sure your family has a point of contact out-of-town. During an emergency, it may be easier to call long distance. Your family contact will serve to make sure someone can account for where you and your family members are in case you cannot get in touch with each other.
Pets: Know where you pet will go during a disaster. Make sure to have a two-week supply of food and water, as well as any medications, toys, food bowls, carriers, etc. Also vary vaccination records as some shelters, kennels or hotels may require it.
Make a Go Kit: Plan to be self-sufficient for 10 days following a hurricane. This means having food, water, medication, clothing, toiletries, flashlights, batteries, cash, first aid kit, pillows, blankets, etc. Don’t forget important documents like house deeds, insurance information, car titles and birth certificates. You will also want to grab irreplaceable valuables like family photo albums and other keepsakes.
Prepare Your Home or Business: Secure your property by boarding windows and bringing loose objects like lawn furniture and decorations inside. Determine where and how you will secure your boat during the storm.
During the storm
Stay Informed: Local radio, television, www.cityofgalveston.com, One Call Reaches All, and the City’s Twitter and Facebook pages will provide the latest information regarding evacuation and re-entry for Galveston.
Stay Safe: Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Turn your refrigerator to its coldest setting and open only if necessary to preserve perishable food. Stay in an interior room, away from windows. Keep the bathtub full of water to use for sanitary purposes.
After the storm
Re-Entry Plan: Please be patient! Access to affected areas will be controlled by GPD-controlled checkpoints and curfews. You will not be able to return to your home until search and rescue operations are complete and it is deemed safe to return. Stay informed by radio, local TV, www.cityofgalveston.org, One Call Reaches All and the City Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Stay Safe: Avoid downed power lines. Beware of snakes, insects and animals. Never run your generator indoors as deadly levels of carbon monoxide may accumulate. Cook outdoors in well-ventilated areas until it is confirmed there are no breaks in your gas line.
Repairs: Secure your structure and make temporary repairs to correct safety hazards and minimize further damage. Repairs/construction more than $500 requires a permit.
Debris cleanup: Storm generated debris must be brought to the curb. City contractors will make multiple debris pick-ups – there is no need to haul away your own debris. Do not stack debris in alleys, in front of fire hydrants, water meters, places where it will impede traffic, etc. Please separate your debris into the following categories:
• White goods: Refrigerators, stoves, large appliances, etc.
• Green debris: Tree limbs, branches, logs, etc.
• Household hazardous waste: paints, solvents, TV’s, computers, fuel, etc.
• Construction and demolition: Carpet, padding, insulation, furniture, sheetrock, etc.
Need help evacuating?
Call the City of Galveston’s Need-A-Ride program at 409-621-3179. For cities outside of Galveston, call your local office of emergency management for your City’s plan.
Know the terms
• Tropical storm: A tropical cyclone with minimum sustained wind speed of 39 – 73 mph.
• Hurricane: A tropical cyclone with minimum sustained wind speed of 74 mph or higher.
• Tropical Storm/Hurricane Watch: Tropical Storm/Hurricane conditions pose a threat to watch area within 48 hours.
• Tropical Storm/Hurricane Warning: Tropical Storm/Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours.
• Saffir-Simpson Scale*: Categories of hurricanes based on sustained wind speeds. Storm categories do not correlate to the severity of the storm’s impact on land.
• Storm surge: An abnormal rise in sea level that sweeps along the coast near the eye of hurricane landfall. Storm surge is the greatest threat to life and property during a hurricane.
*Remember: Storm categories only account for wind speed. Low category hurricanes can be more devastating to life and property than high category storms because of the associated storm surge. Please act on the advice from local officials.
• Fill up on gas prior to landfall.
• Credit cards, ATMs and banks may not be functioning after the storm
• Cell service may be interrupted, causing your mobile phone to roam. This will drain the battery very quickly. If you do not have service, close all running programs and turn on your phone sporadically to check for cell service in order to conserve battery power.
• Most homeowner’s insurance does not protect against flooding. Know your policy.
• Protect yourself from fraud. Check if your contractor is registered by calling the City of Galveston Planning Department at 409-797-3660/3620. Never pull the permits for a contractor – it is their responsibility.
• Do not use tap water following a storm until it has been deemed safe to consume. A notice will be sent out via radio, TV, www.cityofgalveston.org, One Call Reaches All, and the City social media pages when it is confirmed safe.
For information, visit www.cityofgalveston.org or call 409-765-3710.
Evacuation Assistance before the storm: 409-621-3179
Information during hurricane conditions: 409-765-3710
Register for One Call Reaches All notification system: 409-765-3710
Dial 911 for emergencies only
Galveston Marine response mission
To provide the citizens and visitors of Galveston a coordinated multiagency public safety team that rapidly responds to any urgent marine search and rescue and/or recovery operations caused by accidents, flooding or hurricanes.