Emergency Preparedness

A whole-community approach to emergency management requires community members to prepare themselves and their families for emergency situations. Take action to prepare for the types of emergencies that could affect you where you live, work, and visit. Visit ready.gov to find more information on how you can prepare for any emergency.

National Preparedness Month

Each September, during National Preparedness Month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aims to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies. The 2022 National Preparedness Month theme is "A Lasting Legacy," and serves as a reminder that "the life you've built is worth protecting." For more about the national preparedness campaign, visit Ready.gov.

The City of San Marcos is no stranger to emergency events and natural disasters. The Emergency Management Department works with City staff and partners throughout Hays County year-round to create a culture of preparedness that sustains a resilient community in the face of natural and man-made hazards. The department strives to ensure the San Marcos community is prepared, informed, and capable of responding to and recovering from all hazards by being informed.

National Preparedness Month Tips

1. Be Informed

The San Marcos Community can sign up to receive emergency alerts through the region's emergency notification system, Warn Central Texas. Messages may include content such as incident-specific information, recommended protective actions or response directives. They can be delivered to various devices that accept voice, email, or SMS text content and to alpha or numeric pagers. To sign up, visit WarnCentralTexas.org

During an emergency, tune to Spectrum channel 10 or Grande channel 16 to receive emergency information from the City of San Marcos. Emergency information is also available through the KZOS radio station, 103.1 FM.

2. Make a Plan

The first step to making a plan is familiarizing yourself with the types of disasters that could affect your area. Here in San Marcos, flooding and wildfires are among our highest threats. Know how your family will contact one another and reconnect if separated, and establish a family meeting place that's familiar and easy to find. 

To start an emergency plan, discuss these questions with your family:

How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?

What is my shelter plan?

What is my evacuation route?

What is my family/household communication plan?

Do I need to update my emergency preparedness kit?

What are the specific needs of my household members?

Click here for emergency communication plan templates and other planning documents.

3. Build a Kit

Being prepared means having your own food, water, and supplies to last several days in case of an emergency. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. Kits should cater to the specific needs of your household, such as including supplies for infants, pets, or seniors. In general the basic supplies recommended include: 

Water, enough for one gallon per person per day

Non-perishable food

Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert


First aid kit

Extra batteries

Whistle to signal for help

Dust mask to filter contaminated air

Plastic sheet and duct tape for sheltering

Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation

Wrench or pliers to shut off utilities

Manual can opener

Local maps

Chargers or backup batteries for cell phones

Click here for a complete list and to download a printable emergency kit checklist.

4. Low cost, no cost preparedness

Disaster preparedness lies within reach of any budget because there are a variety of no-cost, low-cost resources available. Small actions can make a big difference during and after an emergency. Increasing knowledge about what to do during an emergency, creating and practicing personal emergency plans and getting involved with emergency response in your community are all ways that you can start preparing now at no cost.

  • Install smoke, carbon monoxide, and natural gas alarms and test them monthly.
    • Teach children what to do when they hear those alarms!
    • Contact the local fire department. There you can fill out a request form if you need assistance with the smoke alarms in your home or possibly receive a free battery-operated smoke detector (if hard wired, a licensed electrician should be contacted). 
  • Make sure everyone in your home knows the location of the fire extinguisher and how to use it. 
  • Know what kind of disasters and emergencies are most common for where you live.
  • Talk with family or members of your household about where you will go if told to evacuate. Know your zone. Understand evacuation routes to shelters or other pre-designated areas in case local authorities issue evacuation orders. Having a plan before disaster strikes can help you save precious time and money.
  • Sign up for emergency alertsin your area to receive life-saving information from your state and local municipality.
  • Build your emergency supply kit over time and start with items you may already have in your home (Ex: flashlight, extra batteries, copies of important documents, water and non-perishable food).
  • Store important documents and items like passports, birth certificates, maps, and electronics in a flood-safe place like a high shelf or upper floor in resealable water-tight plastic bags to help waterproof them. Store important documents like insurance policies digitally.
  • Check online for free or discounted CPR courses offered near you.