Definition of "emergency." Under Texas law, an emergency/disaster is defined as an "occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property from a natural or man-made cause." Included in the definition are fires, floods, earthquakes, wind storms, volcanic action, epidemics, infestations, air and water contamination, explosions, chemical spills, riots, hostile military or paramilitary actions, or other public calamities requiring emergency action. Also include are "energy emergencies" such as power failures.
Emergency evacuation orders. During a disaster, the state or a local government entity can issue an "emergency evacuation order" or official statement recommending the evacuation of all or part of a threatened area (TX Admin. Code Tit. 4, Sec. 418.185et seq.).
Quarantines. Under Texas law, the Texas Department of Health Services or local health authorities have the right to declare and implement a quarantine barring entry to a facility as a control measure against contagious diseases or toxic exposure. An Order of Control Measures to Be Imposed on Property (quarantine notice) will be issued to the person who owns or controls the property (TX Health and Safety Code Sec. 81.084 et seq.).
Under an “area quarantine,” a designated area is quarantined because of disease or contamination. Entry to and exit from this area for anyone other than law enforcement or authorized health personnel is strictly forbidden, and any such violation of the quarantine is a criminal offense.