On Tuesday, February 26, 2013, the Williamson County Commissioners Court issued a burn ban for 30 days. The County Judge was given the authority to lift the burn ban during this time if conditions improve. A person violates this order if he burns any combustible material outside of an enclosure which serves to contain all flames and/or sparks, or orders such burning by others. The burn ban prohibits the burning of household yard waste, such as leaves, grass, brush and other yard trimmings. It also prohibits burning to clear land of trees, stumps, shrubbery, or other natural vegetation. This order may be enforced by any duly-commissioned peace officer. It is a Class C Misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine up to $500.
Williamson County Commissioners Court declares the week of March 3-9, 2013, as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Williamson County. The Court urges families and businesses to prepare emergency plans and learn more about severe weather preparedness available through the Office of Emergency Management and “ready.gov.” To view the resolution, click here
Jarred Thomas, emergency management coordinator, spoke to the Court about the importance of being prepared for power outages in case of severe weather. Residents should have supplies on hand in case there is a loss of power for days so that they are able to sustain themselves until services are restored. Severe weather events in Central Texas include severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, straight line winds, hail storms, and floods.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
• Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Whistle to signal for help
• Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
• Manual can opener for food
• Local maps
• Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
An important part of being prepared is getting emergency notifications for your home address or other important addresses. The Capital Area Council of Governments operates a regional Emergency Notification System (ENS). This system uses a "reverse dialing" telephone method to notify residents of critical emergency information where property or human life is in danger. In addition to calling your home phone, you can link your cell phone to notifications for your home address or other important locations, including businesses, schools and the homes of relatives. To register your cell phone, go to http://wireless.capcog.org/ens/intro.aspx
Residents can stay informed of emergency events in the area by becoming a fan of the Williamson County Office of Emergency Management’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/wilcogov#!/preparingwilco
and follow them on Twitter @PreparingWilCo.