Emergency Preparedness

Extreme Heat - Tips to Stay Cool

Houston summers are often filled with days of extreme heat and high humidity. The Heat Index measures how hot it feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature.  

It is recommended that residents stay safe during hot weather using these tips and resources. 

What Should I Do?

The Houston Health Department recommends that residents take the following steps to keep themselves cool:

  • Increase water consumption. Drink lots of liquids even before getting thirsty, but avoid those with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar because they can actually result in the loss of body fluid.
  • Conduct outdoor work or exercise early morning or evening when it is cooler.
  • Outdoor workers should drink plenty of water or electrolyte-replacement beverages and take frequent breaks in the shade.
  • Those unaccustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment need to start slowly and gradually increase heat exposure over several weeks.
  • Use a buddy system when working outside and let your body acclimate to the heat before you try to exercise.
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that permits the evaporation of perspiration.
  • Do not leave children, senior citizens, or pets unattended in a vehicle.
    • Look before you lock. Don't forget about sleeping children.
    • Cars heat up quickly even if the windows are slightly open.
  • A wide-brimmed hat helps prevent sunburns as well as heat-related illness. Sunscreen also protects from the sun's harmful rays and reduces the risk of sunburn. 

Stay Cool at Home

  • Pay attention to the temp in your home.
    • Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
    • Install window air conditioners securely and insulate if necessary.
    • Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
    • Weather-strip doors and stills to keep cool air in.
    • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, or awnings.
  • Drink more water than usual even if you don't feel thirsty.
  • Use cooling towels.
  • Take cool baths or showers.
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

Know the Signs and Take Action

Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Take action to avoid illness and loss of life.

heat exhaustion
Condition Symptoms Response
Sunburn Skin redness and pain, possible swelling, blisters, fever, headaches - Sunburn raises body temperature and makes it more difficult to cool down.
- Take a shower using soap to remove oils that may block pores, preventing the body from cooling naturally.
- Apply dry, sterile dressings to any blisters, and get medical attention.
Heat Cramps Painful spasms, usually in leg and abdominal muscles; heavy sweating - Get the victim to a cooler location.
- Lightly stretch and gently massage affected muscles to relieve the spasms.
- Give sips of up to a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes. (Do not give liquids with caffeine or alcohol.)
- Discontinue liquids, if victim is nauseated.
Heat Exhaustion Heavy sweating but skin may be cool, pale, or flushed. Weak pulse. Normal body temperature is possible, but temperature will likely rise. Fainting or dizziness, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, and headaches are possible. - Get the victim to lie down in a cool place.
- Loosen or remove clothing.
- Apply cool, we clothes.
- Fan or move victim to air-conditioned place.
- Give sips of water if victim is conscious. Be sure water is consumed slowly.
- Give half glass of cool water every 15 minutes.
- Discontinue water if victim is nauseated. 
- Seek immediate medical attention of vomiting occurs.
Heat Stroke High body temperature (105+); hot, red, dry skin; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid shallow breathing. Victim will probably not sweat unless victim was sweating from recent strenuous activity. Possible unconsciousness. - Call 911 or emergency medical services or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
- Move victim to a cooler environment.
- Remove clothing.
- Try a cool bath, sponging, or wet sheet to reduce body temperature.
- Watch for breathing problems. - - Use extreme caution.
- Use fans and air conditioners.
hurricane season

Hurricane Preparation Kit - Suggested Items

  • Water - 1 gallon per person for 7 days
  • Non-perishable food - enough for 7 days
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Extra Batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Moist towlettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Cellphone with charges and backup battery
  • Prescription medications - suggested 30 day supply
  • Nonprescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, or laxitives
  • Glasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet(s)
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Important family documents (ie insurance policies, identification and bank account records) saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for climate and sturdy shoes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil or pen
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
centerpoint logo

Preparedness Recommendations from CenterPoint Energy

CenterPoint Energy urges customers to be prepared for potential impact as disturbances develop in the gulf. Customers are encouraged to have a plan in place, particularly if they depend on electricity for life-sustaining equipment requiring continuous power.

Tropical storms and hurricanes pose multiple threats including strong winds, areas of heavy rainfall, and storm surge potential. CenterPoint Energy crews are prepared to respond as soon as it is safe to do so and will work to restore power safely and efficiently.

Check out essential tips that can help you stay safe before, during, and after a storm at CenterPoint Energy - Storm Center. This link includes an outage tracker and tips for both electrical and natural gas safety.

Electrical and Gas Safety Tips from CenterPoint

The company also urges customers to follow important pre-and post-storm electric and natural gas safety tips.


  • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical equipment. Be especially mindful of downed lines that could be hidden in floodwaters and treat all downed lines as if they are energized.
  • If you experience flooding and water has risen above the electrical outlets in your home, contact a licensed electrician before turning on the main circuit breaker or trying to restore power.
  • All electrical appliances and electronic equipment that have been submerged2023 Hurrican flyer Opens in new window in water need to dry thoroughly for at least one week. Then, have them checked by a qualified repair person before turning them on. Attempting to repair a flood-damaged appliance could result in electrical shock or death. Attempting to restart it could result in further damage and costly repairs.
  • If the outside unit of an air conditioning system has been under water, mud and water may have accumulated in the controls. Have the unit checked by a qualified air conditioning technician.

Natural Gas:

  • Do not turn off your natural gas service at the meter; doing so could allow water to enter the natural gas lines.
  • Be alert for the smell of natural gas. If you smell gas, leave the area immediately and tell others to leave, too.
  • If you smell gas, do not turn the lights on or off, smoke, strike a match, use a cell phone or operate anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator.
  • Do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off. Once safely away from the area, call 888-876-5786, and CenterPoint Energy will send a trained service technician immediately.
  • If your home was flooded, call a licensed plumber or gas appliance technician to inspect your appliances and gas piping to make sure they are in good operating condition before calling CenterPoint Energy to reconnect service. This includes outdoor gas appliances including pool heaters, gas grills, and gas lights.
  • Before conducting debris cleanup or digging on the property, or to locate underground natural gas lines and other underground utility lines, call 811 - the nationwide Call Before You Dig number.
  • Be aware of where your natural gas meter is located. As debris is put out for heavy trash pickup, make sure it is placed away from the meter. In many areas, the meter may be located near the curb. If debris is near a gas meter, damaging it and causing a potentially hazardous situation. If this happens, leave the area immediately and call CenterPoint Energy at 888-876-5786.

August is811 811 awareness month and a great reminder to always contact 811 at least 2 business days before you dig to have buried utility lines marked. It's safe. It's free. It's the law.

CenterPoint Energy - Gas Safety

texas flood stakeholders workshops

Texas Water Development Board - Flood Stakeholder Workshops

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has added a fourteenth workshop to its roster of flood outreach meetings around the state. The meeting will be held at Houston City Hall on Friday, August 23, at 9:30 a.m.

Sign Up with HCFCD to Receive Customizable Water Level and Rainfall Alerts

Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) has announced enhancements to their website to provide residents the option to receive automated alerts regarding water levels and rainfall via text message, email, or both.

Harris County Flood Warning System Alert Sign Up

Harris County Flood Warning System Map

hurricane preparedness flyer 2019 outside
hurricane preparedness flyer 2019 inside

Helpful Phone Numbers

  • Red Cross - 1-800-733-2767
  • Coast Guard - 281-464-4852
  • CenterPoint (to report outages) - 713-207-2222
  • Donations Management - 1-800-924-5985
  • Volunteering - 281-656-1533 

Cmr. George P. Bush Statement in Response to HUD Announcement Regarding Mitigation Funds

Aug. 2, 2019 AUSTIN  – Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it will soon publish Federal Register notices for disaster mitigation funds. The first notice will include funds for Texas, Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, California, Missouri and Georgia; and the second will include funds for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Once the first Federal Register Notice is published, the Texas General Land Office will be able to begin drafting an action plan for how the state will use $4.3 billion in mitigation funds.

“Today’s announcement that HUD will soon release rules for Texas’ long awaited mitigation funds is welcome news,” said Commissioner George P. Bush. “These rules will determine how we can use our funds to better protect Texans living along our coast. Our hope is that these rules will be limited, allowing for the greatest flexibility to best protect coastal communities as quickly as possible. We are now in the third month of the 2019 Hurricane Season – these funds cannot come quickly enough.”

  1. Greater Harris County 911
  2. Texas 211
  3. TDEM

Greater Harris County 9-1-1

For 30 years GHC 9-1-1 has made it its mission to ensure that anyone, at anytime, in any place, using any device shall be able to reach emergency services. This year they are rolling out the new Emergency Notification System (ENS.) This is a voluntary alert system that will notify residents of events that could threaten lives, property, or could be dangerous. Previously, only landlines were eligible to receive notifications, but with the new ENS cell and Internet phones can now be contacted. For more information or to register, click on the link below to visit the GHC 9-1-1 home page.
Texas OEM
Texas OEM Spanish