Emergency Preparedness
The best thing you can do.

In Case of Emergency

Calling 9-1-1
1. Stay calm.
2. Wait for the dial tone and dial 9-1-1.
3. Speak clearly and tell the operator what is wrong.
4. Give your name, address, and phone number.
5. Don't hang up until instructed.

Teach children about calling 9-1-1 by practicing on a toy phone.

For more information visit 911.gov. 
Using what3words to Identify Your Location
Sometimes you may not be aware of the nearest street address.

what3words is available for Apple and Android devices. 


Building an Emergency Kit
After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water, and other supplies to last for several days. Your kit should be secured, easy to access, well stocked, and checked and updated regularly! 
  • Food 
  • Water 
  • Toiletries and personal hygiene materials 
  • Medications
  • First aid kit
  • Batteries 
  • Flashlight 
  • Important documents (birth certificate, insurance documents, identifications, bank account information, & contact lists)
Create an emergency kit for every member of your household including your pets.

Click here for more information from Ready.gov.
Register to Get Emergency Warnings
WarnCentralTexas is an emergency notification system for Central Texas residents. Registering with WarnCentralTexas allows local officials to contact communities by phone, email, and text during times of disaster.


Create Defensible Space with Fire Resistant Landscaping
Fire-resistant landscaping around your home creates separation between fuels a fire needs to continue burning like trees, plants, and even your home itself. Keeping a healthy and well-maintained landscape is important to the survival of your home during a wildfire.

Immediate zone
The home and the area 0-5’ from the furthest attached exterior point of the home; defined as a non-combustible area.  Science tells us this is the most important zone to take immediate action on as it is the most vulnerable to embers. START WITH THE HOUSE ITSELF then move into the landscaping section of the Immediate Zone.
  • Clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves, debris and pine needles that could catch embers.
  • Replace or repair any loose or missing shingles or roof tiles to prevent ember penetration.
  • Reduce embers that could pass through vents in the eaves by installing 1/8 inch metal mesh screening.
  • Clean debris from exterior attic vents and install 1/8 inch metal mesh screening to reduce embers.
  • Repair or replace damaged or loose window screens and any broken windows Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
  • Move any flammable material away from wall exteriors – mulch, flammable plants, leaves and needles, firewood piles – anything that can burn. Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches. 

Intermediate zone
5-30’ from the furthest exterior point of the home. Landscaping/hardscaping- employing careful landscaping or creating breaks that can help influence and decrease fire behavior
  • Clear vegetation from under large stationary propane tanks.
  • Create fuel breaks with driveways, walkways/paths, patios, and decks.
  • Keep lawns and native grasses mowed to a height of four inches.
  • Remove ladder fuels (vegetation under trees) so a surface fire cannot reach the crowns.  Prune trees up to six to ten feet from the ground; for shorter trees do not exceed 1/3 of the overall tree height.
  • Space trees to have a minimum of eighteen feet between crowns with the distance increasing with the percentage of slope.
  • Tree placement should be planned to ensure the mature canopy is no closer than ten feet to the edge of the structure.
  • Tree and shrubs in this zone should be limited to small clusters of a few each to break up the continuity of the vegetation across the landscape.

Extended zone
30-100 feet, out to 200 feet. Landscaping – the goal here is not to eliminate fire but to interrupt fire’s path and keep flames smaller and on the ground.
  • Dispose of heavy accumulations of ground litter/debris.
  • Remove dead plant and tree material.
  • Remove small conifers growing between mature trees.
  • Remove vegetation adjacent to storage sheds or other outbuildings within this area.
  • Trees 30 to 60 feet from the home should have at least 12 feet between canopy tops.*
  • Trees 60 to 100 feet from the home should have at least 6 feet between the canopy tops.

Click here for more information from The Texas A&M Forest Service.
Fire Resistant Construction
Hardening a home describes the process of reducing a home’s risk to wildfire by using non-combustible building materials, keeping the area around your home free of debris and taking steps to prevent embers from entering the home.

Embers pose the greatest threat to a home. These fiery little pieces of wood shoot off from the main fire and get carried to other areas by fast-moving air currents. A high-intensity fire can produce a virtual blizzard of embers. Some can travel more than a mile before landing. They can get into the smallest places and easily start a fire that can burn down an entire home.

Roof and Gutters
  • Use fire-resistant roofing material such as metal, tile or Class A shingles.
  • Inspect for gaps in roofing that can expose roof decking or supports.
  • Install metal gutters and gutter guards to keep debris from accumulating.
  • Place angle flashing over openings between the roof decking and fascia board.

Eaves and Soffits
  • Enclose or box-in eaves with non-combustible materials such as metal, cement board or stucco.
  • Install a metal screen behind roof vents.

Exterior Walls
  • Select heat and fire-resistant sidings such as metal, brick, block, stone, cement board or fire-retardant-treated lumber.
  • Make sure there are no crevices or holes that could catch embers.

  • Install double-paned or tempered glass windows.
  • Use metal framing or aluminum coverings for wood or vinyl.
  • Use a fiberglass or metal screen.
  • Use drapes and shutters that are fire-resistant to help reduce the likelihood of fire spread.

  • Install 1/8-inch metal screening behind vents.
  • Clean vents to keep them free of debris, allowing them to keep embers out while allowing air flow for ventilation.

Decks, Fencing, and Skirting
  • Spread gravel or other non-combustible material under the deck.
  • Screen in the bottom of the deck with metal 1/8-inch screening.
  • Separate wooden fences from the house with a stone or metal barrier.
  • Use a non-combustible material for skirting around the foundation.

Click here for more information from The Texas A&M Forest Service.

Fire Safety at Home

Home Fire Escape Plan
Your ability to get out of your home during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning. Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds.

  • Draw a map of your home. Identify all the windows and doors. 
  • Visit each room and find two ways to escape. 
  • All windows and doors should open easily. You should be able to use them to get outside. 
  • Make sure your home has working smoke alarms. Test them monthly by pushing the test button and listening for a loud beep. 
  • Pick a meeting place outside. It should be stationary and in front of your home. 
  • Ensure your home or building number can be easily seen from the street to allow emergency responders to locate you quickly. 
  • Talk about your escape plan with everyone in your home.
  • Practice your home fire escape plan two times a year in the daytime and nighttime.

Click here for more information from The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Choosing the Proper Fire Extinguisher
There are 5 primary types of fire extinguishers, each designed to put out different kinds of fires.

  • "A" - For use with ordinary materials like cloth, wood, and paper. This type of fire extinguisher is often found in homes and businesses.
  • "B" - For use with combustible and flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, oil, and oil-based paints. This type of fire extinguisher is often found in homes and businesses.
  • "C" - For use with electrical equipment like appliances, tools, or other equipment that is plugged into an outlet. Class C fire extinguishers use an agent that doesn't conduct electricity. This type of fire extinguisher is often found in homes and businesses.
  • "D" - For use with flammable metals. This type of fire extinguisher is often found in factories. 
  • "K" - For use with vegetable oils, animal oils and fats in cooking appliances. This type of fire extinguisher is often found in commercial kitchens (restaurants, cafeterias, catering businesses).
There are also multipurpose fire extinguishers that might be labeled "B-C" or "A-B-C" that can be used on most types of home fires. Most home improvement stores carry multipurpose fire extinguishers that cover Class A through Class C.

Click here to find more information from the U.S. Fire Administration.

Using a Fire Extinguisher
Dial 9-1-1 before you attempt to extinguish a fire.

When operating a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
  1. Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
  2. Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  3. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  4. Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

Click here to view more information from the U.S. Fire Administration.