Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

New Tools for Hurricane Alerts and Disaster Preparedness

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Workers prepare to remove a sailboat washed up onto the edge of the highway into Galveston by Hurricane Ike September 21, 2008 in Galveston, Texas.

Summer is almost here, and that means hurricanes are just around the corner, too. To help prepare for evacuations, a new digital billboard system went into action today in three counties in and around Houston at the start of Texas’ Hurricane Preparedness Week.

The billboards will usually carry ads (they were paid for by Clear Channel Communications), but in times of emergency and evacuation the billboards will carry messages specific to each county.

“The message in Galveston County may be a little bit different from the message in Harris County or Fort Bend County,” Lee Vela, Vice President of Public Affairs for Clear Channel Outdoor said at an unveiling today. “So the emergency management coordinators who work at the county level in the emergency management offices will determine what messages go where.”

Right now there are 11 billboards up and running in the Houston area that are able to display messages. In the next several weeks, four more will go up. The ads will change every eight seconds, but during emergencies, counties can “freeze” alert messages on the billboards.

And there are more digital resources for disaster preparedness. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service has posted many of its resources on disaster preparedness as free e-books online. They can be downloaded to your phone, tablet or computer. There are pamphlets on protecting range land from wildfires, disinfecting water after a disaster, and how to treat and care for livestock after a hurricane, among others. You can find all of them here.

Laura Rice of KUT News contributed to this article.


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »