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  June 6, 2012

City of Houston E-Newsletter

Table of Contents


Be Prepared for Hurricane Season
Free Workshop Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ready or Not LogoHurricane Season is here and runs from June 1 to November 30. The City of Houston Office of Emergency Management urges Houstonians to prepare for hurricanes, tropical storms and other emergencies by following a few key steps.

  • Build a Kit - Have a disaster supply kit with enough supplies to last you and your family for 5 - 7 days; the kit should include food, medications, water and other basic necessities
  • Make a Plan - Have an emergency plan for your family and check to make sure that your workplace, children's school and other places you frequent have emergency plans in place; be sure to practice your family's emergency plan before disasters happen
  • Be Informed - Remember, during and after a hurricane, electricity and internet connections may be unavailable, so have a way to stay informed, including access to a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Alert radio or a hand-crank or battery-powered radio
  • Know Your Neighbor - Neighbors can be a great source of help before and after a disaster, so get to know your neighbors, particularly those who are elderly or who may not be able to prepare for disasters by themselves; Houstonians know how to work together to be ready for disasters

For more information visit www.houstonoem.net.

Additionally, Houstonians are encouraged to attend the 2012 National Weather Service Hurricane Workshop on Saturday, June 9, 2012, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Hall B, 1001 Avenida de las Americas, Houston 77010. This family-friendly, fun-filled event will provide information and resources to help build your emergency kit, make your emergency plan and stay informed before, during and after hurricanes. To learn more visit www.hurricaneworkshop.com.

If an evacuation is necessary, it is key to have a plan for how to get out of harm's way. If you are unable to evacuate by yourself or with the help of family and friends, register for the Transportation Assistance Registry by calling 2-1-1 from any phone in Texas or by visiting www.houstonoem.net.


Do You Know Your Hurricane Threat?
Check the Storm Risk Calculator

Storm Risk CalculatorFollowing hurricanes Rita and Ike, the City of Houston and Rice University developed the Storm Risk Calculator to help Houston residents have a better understanding of the threat they might face from the various effects of hurricanes and tropical storms. The calculator is aimed at helping Houstonians make informed decisions about evacuating prior to or after a hurricane.

The calculator shows threat levels throughout the city in an easy-to-understand, color-coded map. Put in a Houston address at http://risk.rtsnets.com and find out the risk level for:

  • Flooding from rainfall
  • Power outages
  • Storm surge
  • Wind damage

This hurricane season, Houstonians are encouraged to develop their emergency plans based on the threats for the area in which they live. Only those residents who live in an area with risk of storm surge should plan to evacuate before a storm. Those with no risk of storm surge are encouraged to plan to shelter-in-place during a hurricane or tropical storm impact, and evacuate after. For more information on how to develop an emergency plan, visit the Office of Emergency Management website at www.houstonoem.net as well as www.readyhoustontx.gov.


Celebrate July 4th at Southwest Airlines Freedom Over Texas
Featuring Billy Currington and Sara Evans presented by Reliant

Freedom Over Texas LogoHelp Houston celebrate our nation's birthday on Wednesday, July 4, 2012, from 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. at Eleanor Tinsley Park and along Allen Parkway, Houston 77002. The event will feature country music artists Billy Currington and Sara Evans on the Freedom Stage and will culminate with spectacular fireworks lighting up the downtown skyline. For more details visit www.FreedomOverTexas.org.

Your help is needed to make this year's celebration the best yet! Volunteers may attend the celebration for free and will also receive free parking, a t-shirt, sponsor hat, refreshments and more! Please sign up at www.houstontx.gov/july4/volunteer.html.

Free and 1/2 price tickets are available online until midnight July 3 courtesy of Reliant at www.FreedomOverTexas.org. Admission at the gate on July 4th is $8 per person. Children five and under are free.


New Public Safety Campaign: "Look Before You Lock"
and Other Tips to "Beat the Heat"

Look Before You LockThe Houston Fire Department (HFD) and State Farm Insurance are partnering to bring attention to children left in hot cars by cautioning drivers to "Look Before You Lock!" Take some simple steps to avoid a deadly disaster.

  • Place an item such as a stuffed animal in the front passenger seat to remind you that your child is in the back seat
  • Put something that you will need when you leave the vehicle such as a cell phone or purse in the back seat as another reminder that you have a passenger in the back

Nationwide, since 1998, an average of 38 children per year have died due to hyperthermia with 33 cases in 2011 due directly to children locked in overheated cars. It doesn't take long. If the temperature outside is only 80° the interior of the car can reach 99° in only ten minutes. Car interiors can easily reach temperatures of 180-200 degrees (F) and cracking the windows has no effect in this extreme heat.

In addition to "Look Before You Lock!", HPD encourages precautions to "Beat the Heat" and avoid heat related illnesses such a heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

  • Limit your outdoor activity in the hottest parts of the day; stay inside if possible during the heat-intensive afternoon hours and if you have to work outdoors take frequent breaks in the shade or an air conditioned area
  • Keep hydrated and drink plenty of water and electrolyte replacement beverages; avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • If you are concerned about your air conditioning costs, talk to your electric provider to discuss possible payment plans
  • Go to a mall, library or other air conditioned facility during the hottest parts of the day
  • Take care of your pets during the summer heat; provide shade and plenty of fresh water if they stay outside
  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and if you get over heated take a cool shower or bath if possible

For a complete list of tips to help you "Beat the Heat", visit www.houstontx.gov/fire/safety/summersafety.html. To learn more about HFD, visit www.houstontx.gov/fire.


Protect Your Home While You're Away on Vacation

Police Department LogoSummer vacation is here and many Houstonians will be traveling. The Houston Police Department (HPD) recommends that you follow these tips to increase the security of your residence while you're away.

  • Do not mention your travel plans or the dates you will be gone on email, Facebook or Twitter
  • Wait to post any vacation pictures until after you return home
  • Have a neighbor check your mail and pick up your newspapers
  • If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, arrange for someone to mow your lawn
  • Make your house look like it is being lived in and use light timers if you can
  • Before you head out, make an inventory of all your valuables, including serial numbers and video or photo documentation (This is also good to have now that we are in hurricane season)

For more information and tips, visit www.houstontx.gov/police/pdfs/Burglary_Prevention_for_Homes_01-11.pdf or watch HPD crime prevention officers in a "How to Protect Your Home" video at www.houstontx.gov/police/keep_houston_safe/index.htm. To learn more about HPD, visit www.houstontx.gov/police.


Website for Locating Towed Vehicles

You might remember the popular movie, "Dude, Where's My Car?" The Houston Police Department (HPD) helps answer that question at www.FindMyTowedCar.com, a website that helps a driver determine where his/her vehicle is stored in the event that it is towed from a location without consent.

www.FindMyTowedCar.com provides up-to-date information much quicker than the old, telephone-based system. The website allows the public to make real-time inquiries into towed vehicles. Additionally, storage lot owners can track the receipt and release of vehicles immediately and electronically.

For more information visit www.FindMyTowedCar.com or visit www.houstonpolice.org and click on the "Find My Towed Car" link. You may also call the HPD Auto Dealers Detail at 832.394.4800.


Parkmobile: Conduct Parking Transactions by Mobile Phone

Parkmobile GraphicThrough the City of Houston's Parking Management Parkmobile service, customers can now pay for parking by cell phone or smart device application. The Parkmobile application is available for the Android, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone and Windows 7 smartphones.

To use Parkmobile's service, drivers must first complete a free registration by setting up an account at www.parkmobile.com, where they can also download one of the mobile apps. Once registered, customers can use the mobile app, the internet or 1.877.727.5758 to pay for parking.

Staying at the forefront of technology, Houston offers pay-by-phone parking service at on street metered spaces or pay stations. Be sure to look for the green Parkmobile stickers and signs the next time you park at a meter.

For additional information visit www.houstontx.gov/parking.


World Refugee Day Festivities in Houston
Celebrate Refugees and Cultural Diversity

The City of Houston is pleased to honor all refugees and extends a heartfelt welcome to those who have come a long way and now call Houston home. The Office of International Communities (OIC), along with refugee resettlement agencies and service providers, invites you to celebrate World Refugee Day (WRD) on Saturday, June 16, 2012.

To celebrate WRD, the city will present three main events: World Refugee Day Kick-off, Monday, June 11, 5:30 p.m., Houston Public Library Central, 500 McKinney, Houston 77002 featuring the screening of the documentary "Welcome to Shelbyville", co-sponsored by the Houston Public Library, The Young Professionals Mixer, Thursday, June 14, 5 - 8 p.m., Nouveau Antique Bar, 2913 Main Street, Houston 77002 and World Refugee Day Celebration, Saturday, June 16, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m., Baker-Ripley Neighborhood Center, 6500 Rookin Street, Houston 77074.

Every year, approximately 60,000 refugees come legally to the United States. These refugees come from all over the world, forced to leave their homes due to violence or fear of prosecution because of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

For more information call Benito Juarez at 713.778.6503, email benito.juarez@houstontx.gov or visit www.refugeedayhouston.org. To learn more about the Office of International Communities and the Department of Neighborhoods, visit www.houstontx.gov/neighborhoods.

World Refugee Day


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Mailing Address:  City of Houston | P.O. Box 1562 | Houston, Texas 77251
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Council Members: Helena Brown • Jerry Davis • Ellen R. Cohen • Wanda Adams • Mike Sullivan • Al Hoang • Oliver Pennington • Edward Gonzalez • James G. Rodriguez • Mike Laster • Larry V. Green • Stephen C. Costello • Andrew C. Burks, Jr. • Melissa Noriega • C.O. “Brad” Bradford • Jack Christie
Controller: Ronald C. Green