COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is supporting National Preparedness Month efforts by asking Texans to ready their families, businesses and communities for a disaster or emergency, said an AgriLife Extension family development and resource specialist in College Station.

“AgriLife Extension is focusing even greater attention on disaster preparedness during September, as this month has been designated National Preparedness Month,” said Joyce Cavanagh. “The Federal Emergency Management Agency has designated the theme of this year’s preparedness month as ‘Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare,’ so our goal is to increase public awareness on how to protect against, prepare for and recover from an emergency or disaster.”

Cavanagh said she hopes Texans will take this opportunity to take practical action toward protecting themselves, their families and their businesses.

“AgriLife Extension provides objective, research-based information, typically at no cost, to help people with emergency and disaster preparation and recovery,” she said. “Materials are available through two agency-related websites, as well as through agency personnel in county offices throughout the state.”

The Texas Disaster Extension Education Network. or Texas EDEN, website has a variety of resources for disaster preparedness and recovery. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

The Texas Extension Disaster Education Network. or Texas EDEN, website has a variety of resources for disaster preparedness and recovery. Additional information and materials can be found at the AgriLife Bookstore and by connecting with Texas EDEN on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

The Texas Extension Disaster Education Network, or Texas EDEN, at http://texashelp.tamu.edu has information and materials on specific disasters, including drought, hurricanes and wildfire, plus tips on disaster preparation and recovery, she said. There are also materials available at the AgriLife Bookstore website, http://agrilifebookstore.org.  These include publications on general preparedness, first aid, and property and financial recovery.Additionally, people can subscribe to current topics by connecting with Texas EDEN on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/txeden. Twitter at http://twitter.com/txeden or Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/texashelp.

“Most materials from these sites may be downloaded and printed free of charge, and several are also available in Spanish,” Cavanagh said. “And many of our preparedness and recovery publications are also available in e-book format for downloading from the Texas EDEN site to mobile devices like smart phones, tablets and electronic readers.”

There are numerous considerations before, during and after an emergency or disaster, and each disaster has its own unique personality and set of challenges, she said.

“Families should map out an evacuation plan ahead of time and practice it,” Cavanagh noted.  “They should also have an emergency kit for their home, office and each vehicle, and definitely should know where to go in case of an emergency.”

She said a number of safety issues also arise when returning to a home or business after a disaster, including possible structural damage, damage to electrical wires or gas lines, and the risk of contaminated water.

“After surviving a disaster, people should also be aware of the new dangers that crop up and take the necessary safety measures to ensure they survive the recovery phase too.”

Cavanagh said additional information on preparedness may be also found by going to FEMA’s http://ready.gov website or its Spanish-language counterpart at http://listo.gov.