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Plan for emergencies during National Preparedness Month

(From left) Assistant Police Chief Cory Tchida, Emergency Management Coordinator Chad Berg, Fire Chief John Sullivan and Mayor Dale Ross at the Sept. 12 City Council meeting.In recognition of the importance of being prepared in case of an emergency, Mayor Dale Ross proclaimed September National Preparedness Month in Georgetown during the Sept. 12 City Council meeting.

Each of us can take action to prepare, and there are many things residents can do to prepare for an emergency such as a fire or flood, including making and practicing plans yourself, friends and family as well as participating in preparations for neighborhoods and communities.

Emergency experts encourage you to put together a go-bag or disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information. Also, think about the supplies you have on hand. You may not need to evacuate, but what if you had no electricity or no water? Extra canned or boxed foods, water, and pet food can help your family be self-sufficient for a few days, if necessary. Write out your plan, think of evacuation routes and shelter plans, and practice your plan with your household. For more information, including checklists and tips, go to ready.gov, a website of the Department of Homeland Security.

Could your 911 center contact you in an emergency? Georgetown residents can sign up for emergency alerts from the City or Williamson County at WarnCentralTexas.org, which is a regionwide emergency alert system. Alerts about flooding, tornadoes, or other life-threatening emergencies are sent by text message or by voicemail.

In an emergency, the best sources of local information are often local TV and radio stations and local media websites. Drivetexas.org is a site by the Texas Department of Transportation with real-time data on road closures across the state. To find out about road closures in the Austin metro region, including Georgetown, go to ATXfloods.com, a site with real-time information on road closures due to flooding.

The City of Georgetown uses a number of social media platforms to inform residents, including Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor. Follow the City of Georgetown at  facebook.com/CityofGeorgetown and twitter.com/GeorgetownTX. Nextdoor is an effective way for the City to send alerts about emergencies or other urgent issues such as power outages, water outages, or road closures. Sign up at Nextdoor.com.

Being prepared in case of an emergency can help first responders by knowing how to respond during an emergency and what to do if there is a disaster as well as how to help yourself and others until help arrives.

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