Dallas County Health and Human Services - 2377 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75207

Telephone: 214-819-2000

House Fire:

A fire can destroy your dwelling in a matter of minutes. It can be ignited by lightning, wildfire, arson, faulty wiring, a remodeling project, or a simple act of human carelessness. It may even come from a neighboring building, house, or apartment. According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 370,000 house fires occur each year. Whether in a single-family house, condo, or apartment all occupants should be continually vigilant and aware of this hazard. Preventive education and proper response training are important steps in mitigating its possible effects. Consider your situation to determine the level of vulnerability you have to this dangerous threat.
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Floods may affect you if you live in Texas. As the old saying goes, “where ever it rains, it can flood.” You don’t have to live next to a river, stream, or creek to be in dangerous territory. If you’re unsure of the risk in your immediate area, check the flood plain map for your address. It may help you better judge the level of vulnerability for you and your family. Click here to help you prepare for a flood emergency. There are steps you can take now to help protect your health and mitigate the damage to your property. Use this link for more information: http://www.ready.gov/floodawareness


If you’ve lived in Texas very long, you probably know about the danger tornadoes present. Depending upon climate conditions, the strength and intensity of a tornado can vary greatly. You should prepare for the worst by having a safe place to take cover and a plan to get there quickly. And because a powerful tornado can destroy practically everything in its path, you should also have a recovery plan. If your home is destroyed, your car totaled, and your financial health crippled, planning now for such a sudden turn of events may pay enormous dividends…financially, emotionally, and physically. Click here to find helpful information about tornado safety and recovery.


The history of Texas earthquakes dates back to 1882. They have ranged from slight to severe in the damage caused. A destructive earthquake could occur at any time and in almost any place in North America. Your emergency planning should include precautions and discussions on the topic. Use the following links for additional information and resources:


Typically, a wildfire or rangeland fire is not a common occurrence in urban areas. However, as populations expand outward to the edge of the city, wildfire has become a greater threat to entire neighborhoods. And under dangerous weather conditions the threat is more likely. Strong winds can fan a fire, blow large embers out ahead of the fire, and sweep across wide areas of unprotected prairie or natural green belts very quickly. If you live in a susceptible area, have an evacuation plan and a “grab-and-go kit.” If you are alerted to the threat of a wildfire, pay close attention. Listen to instructions from authorities and respond quickly in a cautious manner. For more information, http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/main/article.aspx?id=8516


Because hurricanes are slow-moving, you should have adequate time to seek proper shelter or to evacuate. You should prepare to do either. Advance planning and preparation are the best protections. Once the warnings are issued, follow weather reports, listen to instructions from authorities, and make decisions wisely. Your life could depend upon it. You can find more information about the threats of hurricanes and other naturally occurring disasters on the following website: http://texashelp.tamu.edu/004-natural/index.php

Heat Wave:

Weather events in your area may represent a variety of threats. Often overlooked as a hazard is a summer heat wave. Meteorologists define a heat wave as a prolonged period of temperatures that hover at approximately 10 degrees Farenheit above the region's average.. You can find valuable tips on how to plan for excessive heat and humidity at the following: http://texashelp.tamu.edu/004-natural/heat-waves.php

Winter Storm:

You can help protect you and your family from the multiple threats of a winter storm by planning ahead. Severe winter weather can come in a variety of forms – blizzard, heavy snow, freezing rain and frigid temperature resulting in heavy accumulations of ice. Any of these weather conditions can cripple an entire region resulting in isolation, utility outages, scarcity of food and water, traffic accidents, and life-threatening exposure to the elements. Learn more about preparing for winter storms at: http://www.ready.gov/winter

Power Blackout:

Anytime you lose basic services that are normally taken for granted, surprise is often your first emotion. Surprise, however, is quickly replaced by either disbelief or fear. If you or a loved one is dependent upon powered medical equipment, a blackout can be a matter of life or death. Whatever your situation, when reality settles in, you begin planning your course of action. Here are some pre-event planning tips on what you can do before “the lights go out.” http://texashelp.tamu.edu/004-natural/loss-of-utilities.php

Transportation Shutdown:

What if there was a severe shortage of gasoline in your area and only emergency vehicles were allowed to buy? What if the trucking industry suspended delivery of food and household goods to supermarkets and stores? What if a wide-spread natural disaster in your city disrupted bridges and highways? Any one of many scenarios could cause a prolonged shutdown or disruption of critical transportation. This is only one of many important reasons for you to equip your household with emergency supplies. The survival of your family, literally, might depend upon planning for the unexpected and preparing for the worst.

Hazardous Material Accident:

Hazardous materials are substances that, because of their chemical nature, pose a potential risk to life, health, or property. Hazards can exist during production, storage, transportation, use of, or disposal. Do you know where the chemical plants or storage facilities are in your area? Do you know the hazardous material traffic lanes – both highway and rail – that are in your area? What is your home’s proximity to these threats? You can find out by contacting your Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). For Dallas County, TX, use the following link: https://www.dallascounty.org/departments/hsem/lepc/

Remember, the best way to protect yourself is to be familiar with and recognize the potential dangers. Also, knowing the local warning system and the plan to disseminate information and instructions is critical. Once you are familiar with the potential threat and local warnings, you will want to get your household prepared to shelter-in-place or evacuate. The following site can help you with those preparations: http://www.ready.gov/chemical-threats

Disease Outbreak, Epidemic:

Local, state, and federal health officials are constantly on alert for patterns of illness among the general populace. Many diseases occur naturally and can be spread rapidly causing concern for widespread sickness creating epidemics. A worldwide pandemic can develop if the disease is not contained. It is important for individuals to receive recommended annual influenza vaccinations. Taking advance precautions against known threats is everyone’s responsibility. For those who become sick it is important that they report their condition and receive treatment from their doctor or other licensed medical professional. During an outbreak that threatens to reach epidemic proportions, it is critical that everyone listens for and follows precautionary and treatment instructions from the health care community. The Centers for Disease Control has one of the best websites for more information and for daily updates during a major disease outbreak such as the flu: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm


From small bombs that can be sent in the mail to conventional bombs large enough to destroy buildings or business districts, explosive devices pose a threat to everyone’s safety. Being prepared against this potential threat is, for the most part, a matter of being aware, recognizing warning signs, and taking immediate action in the face of anything suspicious. As with other hazards, your emergency communications plan, your emergency “go-kits,” and your evacuation plans may be life-saving tools when confronted with the aftermath of a large explosion. Although no one is completely safe from the danger of a terrorist act, your level of susceptibility, and that of your family members, can be somewhat measured by assessing the work, school, recreation, and travel patterns of each. For more information, go to: http://www.ready.gov/explosions

If you are a business owner or responsible for the emergency preparedness of others in the workplace, the following might be a helpful website: http://www.osha.gov/dep/fire-expmatrix/

Terrorist Attack:

Terrorism is nothing new. The security of nations and their peoples have been threatened and attacked by terrorists throughout human history. Yet, technological advances and political unrest have made present-day terrorism a daily concern and an almost daily event somewhere in the world. The most common threats seem to lie in the potential use of biological or chemical agents, and radiological, or nuclear weapons. Much has been written about each. As with other hazards, your emergency communications plan, your emergency “go-kits,” and your evacuation plans may be life-saving tools when confronted with the aftermath of any act of terrorism. You can read more about these hazards and what action to take before, during, and after an attack. http://www.ready.gov/terrorism


Depending upon your locale, profession, physical condition, or any special need you might have, there may be a threat to your well-being and survival that is not listed here. It might be a business continuity issue where a lengthy disruption in your business would have disastrous consequences. Whatever it might be, have a thorough understanding of how that hazard may affect you, its warning signs, and things you can do to reduce the risk, prevent occurrence, or mitigate the harm. Prioritize it on your list.

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