UTSA emergency management: Prepare, plan and know hazards around you

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(Sept. 1, 2011) -- Now that the semester is under way, the UTSA Office of Emergency Management would like to get back to basics with you when it comes to emergency preparedness. With all the stressors in our daily lives, mixed with our busy home and work schedules, we often forget how important it is to prepare for emergencies. If you follow the simple measures outlined here, you'll be prepared to act when disaster strikes.

First things first -- Prepare an emergency kit. In order to respond to any type of emergency, you are advised to put together an emergency kit for your home, car and workplace. Why is it important to have 3 kits? You never know where you will be when a local emergency happens, and having the essentials to get you through the moment is important to your safety and well-being. Items to include in your kit include, but are not limited to, water/sports drink, snacks, medications, first-aid kit, important documents, change of clothes, flashlight, batteries, cell phone charger and personal hygiene products. Although this is not an extensive list, these basic items will ensure you have a level of comfort when normal resources are not available.

Next -- Develop an emergency plan. Preparing a plan ahead of time will assist you during an emergency and lessen the stress of figuring out what to do and who to contact. Your plan should include emergency contact information, phone numbers of family members and emergency services, important personal information for emergency responders (i.e. medical allergies, doctors) and other basic preparedness information. Much like an emergency kit, a plan should be developed and stored at home, at work and a brief plan/card in your wallet. A good resource to easily develop a plan is to visit the Texas Prepares website.

Lastly, stay informed. Know the hazards that surround you at all times, and learn about how you can respond to different types of emergencies. For certain types of emergencies such as severe weather, there is time to gather information and act appropriately. But, as is the nature of the beast, emergencies can jump out at you without warning. Therefore, listen to the news, monitor weather conditions, research local threats and most importantly, share this information with your family, friends and coworkers. Knowledge is the core of emergency preparedness -- don’t be scared, empower yourself.

Together, we can build and sustain a safe campus community. The UTSA Office of Emergency Management is committed to providing quality and accurate preparedness information to our campus family, and we hope you take steps to ensure your personal and family preparedness needs.

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit the UTSA Police Department website. Be safe, UTSA!