Smith County is making sure people have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe, releasing the 2017 tornado and severe weather response plan this week.

Of the 118 tornadoes reported in Texas in 2017 by the National Weather Service, 22 have touched down in East Texas.

Smith County has experienced four so far, which is why the county has issued a new response plan for residents.

"It's a great way to get people around the table and just talk about how we get prepared for this. Are we prepared? What do we need to do to get prepared if we're not," said George Roberts, Chief Executive Officer for Northeast Texas Public Health District.

The plan outlines the precautions people can take and supplies they should have at the ready.

"I think the big thing is, is each individual prepared for something like this? If the electricity goes off, do you have a food supply around that you can take care of yourself?"

Roberts and other emergency management coordinators ask that people pack an emergency supply kit, with at least three day's worth of food and water for each member of a household.

They also recommend downloading the code red emergency alert app, which provides real-time emergency and severe weather alerts based on your location.

"Do you have your personal, private records like your bank accounts or credit cards? Information like that, that you can readily have access to, birth certificates, if you need that information."

Emergency document bags are also available to safely store any important identification documents, making them easy to locate in case a person needs to evacuate quickly.

While tornadoes can be unpredictable, county representatives are confident they will be prepared to respond.
"We have the people in place to address this situation as it comes about."

To review the full 2017 tornado and severe weather response plan, visit the Smith County website.