AgriLife Extension offers new emergency, disaster materials for Texans with special needs

COLLEGE STATION — The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has produced new informational and educational materials for Texas residents who are underserved or have special needs, said agency experts.

The new materials include a recorded emergency/disaster training and educational package that includes PowerPoint presentations, flip charts and fact sheets in English and Spanish.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has produced additional emergency and disaster preparation and recovery materials for Texans

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has new emergency and disaster preparation and recovery materials for Texans with chronic diseases and their caregivers, and those in more remote communities. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

“There are also three short videos in English, in English with American Sign Language and in Spanish, as well as disaster preparation and response activities for the family,” said Josefa Pena, AgriLife Extension health program specialist in family development and resource management, College Station.

Pena said some of the topics and issues addressed in the new materials include managing stress, maintaining one’s health during a disaster, organizing medications and medical supplies, disaster recovery resources available to Texas residents, creating a grab-and-go emergency kit, and tips for returning to normal after an emergency or disaster.

“Our goal is to increase access to emergency preparedness information for individuals with chronic diseases and their caregivers, including those with selected special needs and those living in rural and border communities,” she said. “These individuals often do not have the same access to important disaster-related information as other Texas residents. We are trying to fill that information gap and get them more aware of and involved in disaster preparation, especially since their situation likely will be even more difficult and challenging than others.”

Pena said AgriLife Extension is striving to give the target audience the knowledge and training to be “portable” and adapt to handling emergencies and disasters.

The new materials will be posted to the Texas Emergency and Disaster Education Network, or Texas EDEN, website at http://texashelp.tamu.edu and the AgriLife Extension family and  and consumer sciences website at http://fcs.tamu.edu. The information will be accessible for mobile devices and e-readers.

Pena said September is National Preparedness Month, so the time is right to let Texas residents and others know about these new materials and remind them of the others available through AgriLife Extension.

“National Preparedness Month gives us a specific time during the year to emphasize the importance of being prepared for an emergency or disaster,” said Dr. Andy Vestal, AgriLife Extension specialist and director for homeland security and emergency management, College Station. “After a crisis, there’s a lot of information going out reminding people of the importance of preparing, but by then it’s too late. We want to remind people before a catastrophe strikes.”

Vestal noted that AgriLife Extension has a variety of additional free or low-cost disaster and emergency preparation and recovery materials available on Texas EDEN, the family and consumer sciences website and through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Bookstore at http://agrilifebookstore.org.

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