Your guide to hurricane preparedness

Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 - Nov. 30 and the season peaks mid-August to late October. To help you prepare for an emergency, we’ve created these handy reference tools.


5 steps for creating a family plan 

 
1. Put together an emergency supply kit (modeled on the necessity items listed below for a power outage). 
 
2. Discuss escape routes from each room of the house as well as from your neighborhood. 
 
3. Make sure all family members know how to get in touch with one another even if phone service is disrupted, such as meeting at a designated place or reporting in with emergency responders. 
 
4. Create a checklist of what to do before you leave, such as boarding or shuttering windows, trimming tree branches that could hit your home, turning off electricity at the circuit breaker or fuse box, and turning off gas at the meter or tank. 
 
5. Plan what to do with pets and livestock. 
 
Sources: Texas.gov; Texas Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) 
 
Planning ahead can save lives and homes, and offer peace of mind. 
 
Remember: Evacuate if ordered to do so. Call 211 if you are not sure of the evacuation boundaries and shelter locations.

8 things to have when the power goes out


1. Flashlights and spare batteries 
 
2. A battery-powered or hand-crank radio 
 
3. A cooler, ice, freezer packs (to keep food colder longer) and canned food (plus a manual can opener) 
 
4. A telephone that doesn’t need outside electricity to work 
 
5. Drinking water — at least a gallon per person, per day

6. A first-aid kit and prescription medications (and copies of prescriptions), eyeglasses, hearing aids and other necessary health equipment

7. Copies of important documents and records, including photo IDs and insurance papers

8. Cash — credit cards and ATMs may not work in power outages
 

Tips for staying safe during hurricanes


The Bluebonnet region is within an area prone to thunderstorms and other severe weather conditions, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and flash floods. When you know the risks and what actions to take, you can better protect your family and property.

Hurricanes
  • Identify in advance safe travel routes and official shelters.
  • Fill your vehicle's gas tank and keep it as full as possible.
  • If you are in the hurricane zone, cover all windows and doors with permanent storm windows or plywood. (Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.)
  • Install a generator for emergencies, but never use it indoors — even with a fan — because deadly levels of odorless carbon monoxide can build up and linger.
  • If you evacuate, turn off gas, electricity and water.
  • Fill bathtub and other large containers with water for sanitary purposes such as flushing toilets.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Unplug small appliances.
  • Adjust refrigerator and freezer to coldest temperature.
  • Find alternate ways, such as ice chests, to keep food cold.
  • Be aware of downed power lines as they may be charged. Report downed lines to Bluebonnet or 911.
  • Check for gas leaks around your home.
  • Avoid drinking or cooking with tap water until you know it is not contaminated.
Also read Lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey and Preparing for Hurricane Season

4 ways to report an outage to Bluebonnet 


1. Call our automated outage hotline, 800-949-4414

 
 
3. Use our mobile app for iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets. Just tap Report Outage on the home page or log in to your online account.

4. Use TextPower with a smartphone. To register, text BBOUTAGE to 85700 and follow the prompts. Once you have registered, report an outage on your mobile device by texting OUT to 85700. You can receive updates by texting STATUS to the same number.

Questions? Call a member service representative at 800-842-7708 during business hours. Or email memberservices@bluebonnet.coop.

FAQs about outages

 
Here are answers to 12 commonly asked questions we receive during power outages.

Food safety tips during power outages

 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises you to:
  • Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer.  Safe temperatures are 40° F or lower in the refrigerator and 0° F or lower in the freezer.
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours with the door closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (but only 24 hours if it is half full).
  • Turn your refrigerator to the coldest setting before the storm arrives.
  • Discard any perishable food (meat, poultry, seafood, eggs) that has been above 40° F for two hours or more.  Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe. Do not eat food if it does not smell right, is discolored, has a change in texture or feels warm to the touch.
  • Food in the freezer that is partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still has ice crystals or is at 40° F or lower.
  • Think ahead and freeze refrigerated items such as milk, fresh meat and poultry to keep them cold longer.
  • Freeze water in 1-quart plastic storage bags or small containers before a storm. They are small enough to fit around the food in your refrigerator and freezer.
  • Know where you can get dry ice or block ice. Use that to keep the refrigerator cold. Fifty pounds of dry ice will keep a fully stocked 18-cubic-foot freezer cold for two days.

Stay Informed

 
During major storms and outages, we provide regular updates via Facebook and Twitter. To view current outages, go to our Outage Map.

Sign up to receive emergency warnings

 
Warn Central Texas is a program that lets emergency personnel in communities in and around the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative service area directly contact you by phone, text or e-mail during a disaster or public safety emergency.
 
Emergency response teams will send warnings about dangerous conditions and situations such as tornados, floods or severe thunderstorms, as events unfold. Once registered, you can quickly get detailed directions that may affect your neighborhood, such as evacuation orders and directions to shelters.
 
The Capital Area Council of Governments has partnered with communities in much of the Bluebonnet service area including Bastrop, Caldwell, Lee and Fayette counties (other counties are Travis, Williamson, Hays, Blanco, Burnet and Llano) for this program.
 
In order to receive the alerts on your mobile devices, you must register cell phone numbers and email addresses at warncentraltexas.org. All landline phones in the warning area have already been registered by the council.
 
A similar service is available to Washington County residents through that county’s Office of Emergency Management at co.washington.tx.us.
 
Burleson County also offers alerts at co.burleson.tx.us.
 
Click on the Government tab, then Emergency Management to learn more and sign up.

Additional Resources