Deer Park greets storm season with events, updated guide
It’s that time of year again.
The hurricane season officially starts on June 1 and lasts through October, and Deer Park city officials are using a variety of approaches to reach residents with the latest information about how to be ready.
Entities including the city’s emergency services and police department and the National Weather Service have spent months sharing information and developing education tools such as an updated emergency preparedness guide, city spokeswoman Kristin Callahan said.
The free guide is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at City Hall, 710 E. San Augustine St. It is also available at the police and fire departments and the Deer Park Public Library, 3009 Center St. The publication, which is not available online, is applicable for all emergency and shelter-in-place events, such as the fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Co. plant in March and heavy rain in early May.
The city of Deer Park will join the cities of Pasadena and La Porte for a Community Hurricane Awareness Workshop scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 1.at the Pasadena Convention Center, 7902 Fairmont Parkway, Pasadena.
Deer Park also plans to use social media and other methods to promote sign-up events at city facilities for the CodeRED emergency notification program, a service giving emergency officials a way to alert the community via cell and landline phone calls, text messages, email and social media during emergency events. One such event occurred earlier this month.
“We would advise residents to maintain a constant state of readiness, ensuring that disaster kits are stocked year-round, that the entire family is familiar with home escape plans and evacuation routes and habits such as keeping your vehicles’ gas tanks filled are practiced as often as possible,” said Robert Hemminger, the city’s emergency services director.
Since Hurricane Ike in 2008, social media has expanded ways that cities can communicate with residents.
“The city of Deer Park has worked to keep up with the times as new waves of channels gained prevalence among our community,” said Callahan, who added that the city and its emergency management office have Twitter accounts.
The city also maintains an Instagram account which provides information from the weather service.
“Our communications plan and our emergency communications strategies have been consistently updated and re-evaluated to maintain best practices and ensure that the plan is helpful to staff and, and by extension our public,” Callahan said.
It has been two years since Harvey struck the region, and according to Hemminger, all significant weather events are used to evaluate potential flood-prone areas.
“After Hurricane Harvey, the city assessed flooded homes and identified areas to target flood mitigation projects,” he said. “After the heavy rainfall a couple weeks ago, we continue to focus our efforts and ensure we are addressing flood issues as much as possible.”
For information on hurricane preparedness tools, visit the city of Deer Park and its Office of Emergency Management website.