Houston storm preparedness: Essential tips to protect your home and family

As a potent storm system approaches the Gulf Coast, local officials urge residents to prepare not just for the immediate weather threat but for the entire season ahead. This proactive stance aims to ensure community safety and resilience against potential emergencies.

Your Gulf Coast Weather Authority Storm Team recommends starting with a ready kit stocked with essential items such as food, water, first aid supplies, and a means to charge cell phones. A comprehensive list can be found here, facilitating quick access to necessary preparations.

FOX 26 Houston is now on the FOX LOCAL app available through Apple TV, Amazon FireTV, Roku, Google Android TV, Samsung TV, and Vizio!

Local authorities advise residents to inspect neighborhood storm drains. Following weather forecasts indicating possible storms, the Public Works Department has seen an uptick in calls for clogged drains. They encourage residents to clear debris themselves if possible; otherwise, calling 311 will expedite assistance.

For those anticipating prolonged power outages and considering generators, the Houston Fire Department stresses safety precautions. Generators should be tested prior to use and operated outdoors, at least 20 feet away from any dwelling. This precaution also extends to running cars used for charging phones or air conditioning, as improper ventilation can lead to deadly carbon monoxide exposure. This year alone, HFD has responded to 200 emergency calls related to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Chief Larry J. Satterwhite of the Houston Police Department emphasized the importance of staying off flooded roads and limiting unnecessary travel during severe weather conditions. 

"By avoiding unnecessary risks, you not only safeguard yourself but also allow emergency responders to focus on critical situations," he said.

To stay informed and prepared, residents are encouraged to utilize free weather and emergency preparedness apps available on smartphones. Apps like the FOX 26 News and Weather apps provide real-time updates and crucial information about impending weather events.