Today is the start of hurricane season. If you’re a new resident of the coast, you’ll hear a lot of talk that might well be alarming.

Take it from people who’ve been through this: The single most important thing you can do is to get your family together and make a plan.

Decide now what you’re going to do.

It’s easier to make decisions when things are relatively calm. When a storm is bearing down on you, it’s a little harder to think clearly. It’s a little harder to remember all those little details of things you’ll need when you hear the evacuation order.

The annual Hurricane Guide, which this year was a joint effort by the city of Galveston and The Daily News, appeared in Wednesday’s edition. It has a lot of useful information from emergency officials and from people who have weathered bad storms. If you missed it, you can find it online at

Start your plan by making lists of things you want to do and supplies you need. It helps to put things in writing.

If you’re stuck, you could start with some advice that old coastal dwellers used to give to newcomers.

Find a big container or duffel bag. Declare that it’s your disaster kit. As you think of things you’ll need, start stuffing them into your kit.

Seeing your kit every day for a couple of weeks will keep you and other members of your family thinking about what must be done when a storm enters the Gulf.

The point of that big container or duffel bag is that it’s a place to start. And that’s really the point about all this talk about the start of another storm season. It’s a reminder that you need to get started on your plan.

• Heber Taylor

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