September is National Preparedness Month!

The Department of Public Health encourages the community to plan ahead of time.  The tips below can help keep you and your family safe before, during, and after a disaster.  Take one step at a time.  Celebrate National Preparedness Month by taking one week at a time to get ready.   

Week One:  September 1 - 9 

Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends

Week Two:  September 10-16

Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community

  • Learn skills you need to help yourself and others until help can arrive.
  • Take Until Help Arrives training.
  • Check on your neighbors.
  • Talk with your Power Company about utility safety.                         
  • On National Prepareathon Day, Friday, September, 15, hold an event.

Week Three:  September 17-23

Practice and Build Out Plans

  • Practice an emergency drill
  • Know how to access community resources such as shelters and food banks

Week Four:  September 24-30

Get Involved!  Be a Part of Something Larger

Key Safety Tips for Extreme Heat

  • Drink plenty of water; even if you do not feel thirsty. Limit drinks with caffeine and avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Be a buddy - Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Never leave children, elderly, or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, recreation centers, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities. 
  • Check on your pets frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat illness.

Working outdoors?  Follow these safety tips:

  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Protect your face and head by wearing sunblock and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Plan outdoor activities during cooler times of the day.
  • Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.

Heat Illness Signs and Symptoms

Learn the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat Related Terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an extreme heat hazard:

  • Heat Wave - Prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity.
  • Heat Index - A number in degrees Fahrenheit (F) that tells how hot it feels when relative humidity is added to the air temperature. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15 degrees.
  • Heat Cramps - Muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are often the first signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.
  • Heat Exhaustion - Typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victim's condition will worsen. Body temperature will keep rising and the victim may suffer heat stroke.
  • Heat Stroke - A life-threatening condition. The victim's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly.
  • Sun Stroke - Another term for heat stroke.
  • Excessive Heat Watch - Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours.
  • Excessive Heat Warning - Heat Index values are forecast to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least 2 days (daytime highs=105-110° Fahrenheit).
  • Heat Advisory - Heat Index values are forecast to meet locally defined advisory criteria for 1 to 2 days (daytime highs=100-105° Fahrenheit).

Safety Tips Before Extreme Heat Arrives

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Get trained in first aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies.
  • Know those in your neighborhood who are older, young, sick or overweight. They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help.
  • Be aware that people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than are people living in rural areas.

Helpful Websites for Extreme Heat  

Emergency Preparedness Resources

Non-Emergency Helpful Numbers
  • El Paso Police Department 915-832-4400
  • El Paso Fire Department 915-832-4432
  • El Paso County Sheriff's Office 915-546-2280
  • Animal Services Department 915-842-1000
  • 24/7 Diseases Reporting 915-212-6520
  • American Red Cross 915-592-0208
  • Paso Del Norte Food Bank 915-544-5592
  • Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222

El Paso Extreme Weather Task Force (EWTF) 

The EWTF provides free fans to qualified individuals. In addition, the task force provides education for the community about the necessary steps to be prepared and protected from the effects of severe weather. EWTF encourages the “Buddy System” through the community to check on their neighbors and elderly family members.  Call 2-1-1 to request or donate a fan.  


About the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Program

PHEP ensures health and safety of the El Paso community through:

  • Developing collaborative partnerships with federal, state and local government officials, hospitals, community-based organizations and volunteers.
  • Developing plans and providing training to partners and stakeholders.
  • Conducting drills and exercises of those plans.
  • Performing surveillance and investigation of specific communicable/infectious diseases and other public health threats or emergencies.

PHEP Key Components:

Potential local public health threats include:

  • Communicable disease outbreak (hepatitis A, measles, H1N1 influenza, West Nile virus, etc.)
  • Natural disasters (winter storms, extreme heat, floods, and high winds)
  • Bioterrorism incidents (anthrax, plague, smallpox)
  • Radiological disasters (bombs or power plants accidents)

City of El Paso Department of Public Health
Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Program
5115 El Paso Dr.
El Paso, TX  79905
Phone: 915-212-6609
Fax: 915-212-6520

Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday, 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Closed Fridays

Health Emergency Preparedness Program

5115 El Paso Drive
El Paso, Texas 79905
Phone: 915-212-6641
Fax: 915-212-6520

Hours of Operation

Monday – Thursday
7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.


The Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program (PHEP) enhances the capacity of the Department of Public Health to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters.