Complacent people worry League City Emergency Management Coordinator Ryan Edghill. Worrying about their complacency keeps him up late at night. With so many new residents, he has a mission to convince people to be prepared for hurricanes.
“Hurricane Ike was years ago,” Edghill said. “People forget. They look back and the memories are foggy.”
His biggest challenge in hurricane preparation is getting out and speaking to community leaders and neighborhoods. And as League City keeps expanding beyond its 102,000 population, that job gets harder all the time.
“The most important piece is having prepared citizens,” Edghill said.
As hurricane season approaches, League City is prepared for the challenge if one presents itself, City Manager John Baumgartner said.
“One of the concerns we have is educating our citizens about preparation and seriousness of evacuation when faced with a hurricane,” Baumgartner said. “It is important that when an evacuation is called our citizens are prepared and respond appropriately for their safety and the safety of their families.
“Our Emergency Management Office is dedicated to disaster preparedness and has developed area-wide relationships to aid in any disaster preparedness and recovery effort.”
Edghill assists families with disaster preparation and planning. He breaks his main message into three parts: plan, prepare and plug in.
“Be aware of the risk,” he said. “Develop an evacuation plan for your family. If you wait until a storm is in the Gulf, it’s really too late.”
So, it’s important to already have a plan in place. With Gulf-forming storms, there is little time to act. Typically, Texas coastal residents have between 72 hours and 96 hours to make a decision about evacuating. But that’s not always the case.
“With Hurricane Alicia in 1983, we had 54 hours,” Edghill said. “If residents are rushing to Home Depot to get plywood for windows, it’s not enough time.”
The point is to get the plywood and all the other necessities before you need them.
Owners should moor boats securely, Edghill said. Likewise, any lawn furniture or toys in the backyard can become flying debris. Homeowners should secure those items in the garage or in the house.
“Some people put plastic furniture in the pool,” Edghill said.
Residents need to prepare for after the storm, as well. Edghill suggests putting together a survival kit for after the storm. While FEMA suggests having three days’ supply of food and other necessities, Edghill doesn’t think it’s enough. “We say 10 or 14 days’ worth of nonperishable food supplies and water,” he said.
Residents also should get an extra month’s worth of medication.
Keep insurance documents, copies of identification and other important papers in a plastic bag.
“Or a jump drive on key chain,” Edghill said.
Have a little extra cash on hand and keep your vehicle’s gas tank full.
“Keep it at a half tank full at all times during hurricane season,” Edghill said.
The plug in part refers to updates on the city’s website and social media accounts.
Residents can sign up online for a call-out system that will let them know immediately about evacuation orders.
If people do evacuate, they can learn when to re-enter their neighborhoods via the city’s social media accounts, Edghill said.
“I really like to urge that once you take care of yourself, take care of someone else,” Edghill said. “If you don’t know your neighbors, it’s a good time to meet them.”