AUSTIN (KXAN) — Every second counts during emergencies, and it could mean the difference between life and death.
“Texas does have more natural disasters than any other state. So regardless of what the emergency may be, it is very important for folks to be prepared,” said Carrie Stewart, the Austin Fire Department wildfire division chief.
If disaster strikes and your family needs to flee, Austin Fire officials don’t want you and your family to be slowed down by packing.
“It’s important that this is done before a wildfire occurs, you won’t have time during an evacuation,” explained Justice Jones, the AFD wildfire division mitigation officer.
What should be in your go-bag? First, Jones said you should gather your personal and important documents as well as your safety plan. Next, pack a first aid kit and, “have at least for ourselves and our family three days’ worth of food and water.”
Other items to toss in your bag include batteries, a flashlight, cellphone and laptop chargers. Jones said people should also consider saving photos onto a flash drive since insurance can’t replace those.
“If you have these resources and your family plan you have the greatest chances of surviving a wildfire and returning home safely,” Jones said.
When it comes to wildfires specifically, Jones also suggests people pack some masks in case it gets too smoky. Glow sticks also help so firefighters and others can see you. Another item is earplugs that could help people who may have trouble with loud noises.
Starting on Saturday, people can stock up on emergency supplies tax-free and that includes things like batteries, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, first aid kits, emergency ladders and even portable generators. The tax-free period ends at midnight Monday, April 25
Next Thursday, April 28, AFD’s wildfire division will host a virtual Community Preparedness Symposium starting at 6 p.m. Those interested in attending can sign up online.