Prepare For Weather Emergencies Before They Happen
History shows that Pennsylvania is one of the most floodprone states in the nation and floods in recent years have caused hundreds of millions of dollars in both personal and business economic losses.
For that reasons, state and county emergency management officials are encouraging residents, businesses and special care facilities to review emergency plans and procedures during the statewide 2009 Weather Emergency Preparedness week, which runs March 2-6.
"Families need to have an emergency plan that is frequently reviewed, discussed and practiced," said Fulton County Emergency Management coordinator. "The plan that was put together three years ago might not work anymore. For example, maybe there are now extended family members living there, or someone who needs assistance in getting into a protected area of the home in case of severe weather. Even something as simple as a new addition could change which doors are used to exit the home in case of an emergency."
The plan should include an emergency kit that will enable the family to survive without outside help for at least 72 hours. The kit should contain water, high energy ready-to-eat foods and personal medications for each family member, as well as a first aid kit, blankets, a change of clothing, flashlight, a battery-operated radio and fresh batteries.
"A big part of preparation includes knowing what types of severe weather hit your area, and knowing how to protect yourself and your family when that weather hits," the coordinator said. "It's also important to understand the difference between a weather warning and a weather watch so you know what if any action you need to ake when you hear or see those alerts on your local emergency alert system (EAS) station."
A weather watch means there is a possibility of severe weather. Advance preparations should be made.
A weather warning means that severe weather is imminent and your severe weather plan should be implemented.
"The only thing we know for sure is that we will experience severe weather in Pennsylvania. The questions are when and where. That uncertainty requires preparation in advance to minimize loss of life and property during a weather emergency."