The recent devastation of many parts of southeastern Texas by Hurricane Harvey has been a stark reminder of the need for Texans to be aware of and prepare for emergencies and disasters, said Dr. Andy Vestal, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service emergency management specialist, College Station.

 “September has been designated National Preparedness Month by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and AgriLife Extension Service is doing its part to support FEMA’s disaster and emergency preparedness efforts in Texas,” Vestal said. “We hope Texans will take this opportunity to make plans to protect themselves, their families, their homes and their businesses. We also hope they will seriously consider preparing a disaster plan that also accounts for any specific or special needs that may arise.”

Some of those specific or special needs might include making provisions for small children, disabled people, seniors or family pets.

He said the Texas Extension Disaster Education Network at http://texashelp.tamu.edu has materials on disaster preparation and recovery. Materials are also available at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Bookstore, http://www.agrilifebookstore.org, with most available in English and Spanish.

 FEMA and the Ready Campaign are using social media and other means to garner public attention and help people prepare for natural disasters and other emergency situations.

 “They are encouraging families to talk about emergency preparedness and to develop a family emergency plan,” he said. “These efforts are to help everyone be aware of what to do, where to go and how to respond if there’s a disaster or emergency.”

Dr. Joyce Cavanagh, AgriLife Extension family development and resource management specialist, College Station, said one of the best things Texans can do is map out a family evacuation plan ahead of time and practice it. The plan should include establishing escape routes and making sure to include all members of the household in a practice session.

 “Prepare a contact card with the name, address, phone and email for each family member, and have everyone keep a copy of it in a wallet, purse or backpack for easy reference.”

September Range Program

Erath County will host a brush program Sept. 21 at the Texas Agrilife Extension and Research Center. The program will be from 9 a.m.-noon.

Topics will include Weed and Brush Management Application Technology, James Jackson Extension Range Specialist, Dow Chemical Range and Brush Chemical Lineup, Ethan Westfall from Dow Chemical, Laws and Regulations, Lonnie Jenschke Erath County Extension Agent. There will be three CEU’s (1 general, 1 IPM and 1 Laws and Regulation) provided for private applicator license with a $100 registration fee. Please RSVP to 254-965-1460 or erath-tx@tamu.edu by Sept. 19.

Lonnie Jenschke is an Erath County extension agent. His column appears weekly.