Book club helps Texans prepare for extreme weather

Flood water from White Oak Bayou take over a street corner near downtown Houston Monday, April 18, 2016. More than a foot of rain fell Monday in parts of Houston, submerging scores of subdivisions and several major interstate highways, forcing the closure of schools and knocking out power to thousands of residents who were urged to shelter in place. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A community outreach effort to better prepare central Texans for increasingly violent extremes of weather is underway. One piece of it is the use of a book club.

County Commissioner Brigid Shea, Mayor Steve Adler, Jim Spencer, and representatives from Austin’s first responders kicked off the program at a press conference Monday afternoon.

The goal is to create a model community climate preparedness program that can be exported around the country. The book club is designed to encourage discussion and reading among groups and neighbors across the county. The book, The Resilience Dividend, was written by the head of the Rockefeller Foundation, Judith Rodin. It includes a series of disaster case studies that can help families and communities anticipate what can be done to be better prepared.

Commissioner Shea says, “As central Texas experiences greater extremes of violent weather we have to develop new approaches to better prepare our residents. We have many excellent and even award-winning programs in place. The purpose of this initiative is to create a comprehensive community preparedness program that will help families, neighborhoods and all of Travis County be better prepared for flash floods, wildfires, tornadoes, drought and increasingly violent and unpredictable weather.”

The Rockefeller Foundation made a generous donation of 100 copies of the book, which will be distributed in Austin area libraries.

“Our first responders do an excellent job,” said Shea. “But everyone benefits when the citizens know what to do in advance of weather disasters. The goal of this initiative is to help people get out of harm’s way.”

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