Hurricane Irene Acts As Warning For Houston

The nation's eyes are fixed on Hurricane Irene as it swirls toward the East Coast. Although it poses no threat to Houston — emergency officials say it should serve as a reminder to always be prepared.

It hasn't been that long since the Texas coast was the target of a category two hurricane, also starting with the letter I.

But even though Ike was just three years ago, it's easy to become complacent about getting ready for another big storm.

Harris County Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Sloan says watching Irene should serve as an alarm bell of sorts here in Houston.

"It is hurricane season and we've got a long way to go, it's a busy season and last year was very busy and we weren't impacted either. But preparedness is not a just in time event, it's an annual event for all types of hazards. And this is just another warning that we're vulnerable, regardless of what side of the coast you're on."

Sloan says in his own office they're tracking the approach of Irene as an opportunity to review their plans and policies. He suggests residents should do the same.

"Make sure that they have enough fresh water for themselves. That they're looking at their non-perishable foods. They're reviewing their documents that they have, medications, resources and supplies that they have — so that they're able to take care of themselves, protect their families and property for three to seven days."

Sloan says we're reaching the peak of the hurricane season and folks here should remember it's not a question of if, but rather of when the next storm will make its way to Houston.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...