Will your community be prepared when disaster strikes?
This September marks National Preparedness month, which serves as a reminder for individuals, businesses, and communities that we all must take action to prepare, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and we visit.
In Pennsylvania, September is the beginning of hurricane season, and it’s integral that our citizens and communities are prepared for the potential aftermath of these storms. Taking certain measures now will minimize negative impact later.
Here are four tips to ensure you’re ready to handle an emergency:
- Build a kit, and make a plan. It is essential to have an emergency preparedness kit and a communication plan so you are equipped with the essentials in the event you need to shelter in-place in your home or evacuate at the direction of your local officials. Find checklists and guidelines for your own kit at readypa.org.
- Be ready to evacuate. Evacuations orders are not given lightly, and tragedy can be avoided when you follow the instruction of your local officials to evacuate. Not following evacuation orders puts not only your family at risk, but first responders as well. Consider individuals with disabilities or access and functional needs when planning your evacuation.
- Know your hazards. Flooding, severe storms, blizzards, and heat waves are some of Pennsylvania’s most common hazards. Living next to a waterway is often seen as a benefit, but even the smallest creek can swell fast with flash flooding and cause significant damage and danger. Check out your home’s risk of flooding, find a flood insurance agent in your area, and view other resources at floodsmart.gov.
- Stay informed. Sign up for alerts from AlertPA and FEMA on our mobile apps, and follow your local emergency management agencies, @ReadyPA, and @FEMARegion3 on social media for the latest severe weather and safety information.
Many times communities are caught off-guard by the aftereffects of natural disasters, or the damage is extensive enough that they need help rebuilding not only physical structures, but the spirit of the community as a whole. This is where the Pennsylvania Recovery Resources Team (RRT) can help.
The RRT is a community-wide redevelopment and improvement effort by various state and federal agencies — including the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) — that helps disaster-affected communities achieve long-term recovery from various types of disasters by pairing them with available resources, including funding, networking, training, local government assistance, or other aid.
The RRT goes beyond simple rebuilding, aiming to create a stronger, safer, and smarter community than before while involving the entire community in the process. Visit dced.pa.gov to learn more about the RRT and National Disaster Recovery Framework, access resources and programs, and see how it can help your community get back on its feet after an emergency.
Resources for Preparedness
- Pennsylvania Citizens: To get started on disaster prevention, visit readypa.org, where you’ll find tips, guides, and resources to help you be better prepared for major emergencies in Pennsylvania.
- Business Owners: The Small Business Association has comprehensive information on how to guard against various types of disasters, including tips on record preservation and insurance.
- Community Awareness: For resources on how to affect change in your overall community for disaster preparedness, visit ready.gov for toolkits and contact information for regional groups that can help.
Follow @ReadyPA and @FEMARegion3 for the latest severe weather and safety information in Pennsylvania. Use the hashtag #NatlPrep to participate in the national conversation on social media and spread the word about what you’re doing to increase your preparedness.
Jeffrey Allen joined the Department of Community & Economic Development in 2013 as Pennsylvania’s first Disaster Recovery Coordinator. During Allen’s military career, he served in a variety of leadership positions and on multiple deployments, for which he was awarded various medals, including three Bronze Star Medals. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, and holds degrees from Pennsylvania State University, Central Michigan University, and Command and General Staff College.