Above, snow covers North LBJ Drive near Vintage Pads apartments in February. Daily Record photo by Colton Ashabranner
Winter preparedness for San Marcos
As the winter season begins to creep in, temperature outside will soon decrease and the layers of clothes we wear will increase. Along with the changing weather comes thoughts of last year’s Winter Storm Uri and the impact it had in San Marcos and throughout Texas.
“The previous winter storm provided us all a valuable lesson in the importance of preparedness,” City of San Marcos Emergency Management Coordinator Rob Fitch said.
“The city is looking at more outreach programs and, since the weather event, people are more receptive to training themselves to respond appropriately, plan ahead, and build kits with necessary supplies.”
The city relies on an Emergency Operations Plan for “all hazards.” The plan’s purpose is to arrange and mitigate any situation that may cause a break or disruption in service.
“The city has also reviewed the approach to February’s severe winter weather and will make adjustments and improvements as needed to provide for a better response, should a similar weather event occur in the future,” Fitch said.
To ensure various departments are prepared to maintain services in extreme conditions to the fullest extent possible, the Office of Emergency Management conducts training events throughout the year.
Residents and families looking to prepare can begin developing a family plan and emergency kit and signing up for emergency alerts and warnings. It’s also important to stay educated on differences in terminology used to describe advisories, warnings and watches.
According to Fitch, the city has a basic shelter plan in place, however, they do not publicize shelter locations ahead of time to minimize confusion.
“We don’t want members of the public going to the wrong place should an event force us to adapt our plans,” Fitch said. “Instead, we encourage residents to sign up for local alerts through warncentraltexas.org, follow our social media pages, and monitor our website to get up-to-date information in case of an emergency.”
“Residents are always welcome to reach out to the Office of Emergency Management for guidance and information,” Fitch said. “The Hays County Community Emergency Response Team also provides training and classes to assist with hazard preparation and groups like Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD) – San Marcos can help connect residents with resources.”