Dallas County Urges Individuals to Bolster Emergency Preparedness

Dallas County is partnering with state and federal agencies to ramp up an all-hazards, “whole of the community” emergency preparedness campaign, reaching out to residents in order to ensure each person in the county is prepared for a disaster.

“We want to get out the message and information to everyone about how they can be prepared for emergency situations,” said District Judge Clay Jenkins at a news conference. “We encourage everyone to get to know their emergency managers in their cities and to know what department handles emergency management in their city, so that you can contact them with any questions of ideas you may have.”

To continue the campaign, the county will put on a “Prepare Fair” in Plano, Texas, on April 9 to get more information out to residents. Other counties that have put on Prepare Fairs have invited government public response, educational and NGO entities to set up booths explaining how they can help the public prepare for and respond to emergency events. Dallas County will also run PSAs in both English and Spanish.
Tony Russell, Region 6 FEMA Administrator
Tony Russell, Region 6 administrator for FEMA, speaks about Dallas County's initiative.

The effort to get out more information is focused on reaching “the whole of the community” – that is, each individual in Dallas County. “It’s important to reach people across the county, no matter if you live downtown or at the edge of the county,” said Elba Garcia, the county commissioner for the 4th District. “In a case of an emergency, we all need to know what to do. It doesn’t matter if you’re a senior, or a youth, or if you have a disability, or speak another language.”

The idea is that when each individual prepares him or herself, it adds up to an entire county of prepared people. Realistically, though, not everyone is going to prepare themselves, so Texas officials also urged people to ensure their families and neighbors are prepared, too. 

“We all can leverage each other toward being more prepared for a disasters and emergencies,” said Tony Russell, Region 6 FEMA administrator. “It means also that we start with the individual first. The individual is the cornerstone of preparedness, and then it goes from the individual, then it goes to the family, then extends on to the neighborhood, then the town, then the city, the county and the state, all the way to the federal government.”

The preparations officials urged included making a kit with emergency supplies, creating a plan for what a person and his or her family would do in the event of an emergency and agreeing on a method of communicating during a disaster. “There are many things we can do that we think about every day that will make us more prepared for the next disaster, whether it’s a flood, tornado, hurricane or a wildfire, natural disasters will continue to occur around us,” Kidd said.

The state of Texas leads the nation in disasters, and the Dallas County area is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. In September 2010, an F-2 tornado spawned by Tropical Depression Hermine touched down in Dallas’ industrial area, just northeast of downtown, slamming a tractor-trailer into a paint warehouse. The state is also home to many industrial processing plants, chemical plants, and oil and natural gas wells, which also pose the risk of causing a disaster.

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