NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - It's National Emergency Preparedness Month and with a plethora of disasters capable of striking East Texas at any time, do you know what to do when it does and are you prepared?
A professional disaster planner who says the average person is not ready if disaster strikes. Robert Hurst is an emergency preparedness expert.
He has more than 40 years of experience and says that the average East Texan is not prepared in the event of a disaster.
"We have all kinds of disasters that could come but we also suffer like everyone else from seatbelt syndrome: it'll never happen to me," Hurst said.
Hurst said that getting a plan together is easy and takes away so much stress if it does happen.
The first thing you have to do is figure out what kinds of disasters could impact you where you live, whether it's a hurricane, a hazardous materials spill, earthquake, flood, tornado...the list goes on.
"It can become dire for people, that's why once again you think ahead of time and you prepare ahead of time," Hurst said.
Hurst said remember the number three when thinking about how a disaster could affect you.
"People can live three hours only without the proper shelter, people can live only about three days without water, the third thing is food. People can only live, it's a medical fast, three weeks without food then you're dead," Hurst said.
Having access to water is key when sheltering in place and Hurst said plan for at least one gallon, per person, per day.
And did you know you already have lots of water that's safe to consume in your home.
"An example of an alternate water source would be a water heater. Nearly everyone has one in their house and it can hold from 40-55 gallons or more of water," Hurst said. "Another place for water believe it or not is the back of most commodes. This water is potable and it is not the kind that is unsanitary.but teach your family members, particularly your kids, to put a piece of tape over the handle so you don't accidentally flush and dump that water."
Hurst said also buying extra non-perishable, easy to prepare foods like soup, beans and canned meats when you go to the store will help build your emergency food pantry.