Manager's Blog: Emergency Preparedness

Date: November 12, 2018

Winter is coming. It’s almost a relief to say that after I’ve been in denial for these last few weeks! But we Pennsylvanians are all too familiar with this time of year, and both the joy and headaches it can bring. Our temperate climate shows us the beauty of all four seasons, but it also shows us the dangers.

It’s critically important this time of year that we spend time focusing on emergency management and doing what we can to prepare for that inevitable winter storm. If you’re at all like me, you understand that emergency preparedness is crucial in helping to provide for your own and your loved ones' safety, but it can be a seemingly daunting task that is easily set aside for another day. Fortunately, there are many resources available at the local, regional, and state levels to help you be ready when that storm hits.

One tool that I’ve found especially helpful is the Pennsylvania Emergency Preparedness Guide. This short publication prepared by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is full of useful checklists and planning material — scalable to fit a variety of disaster scenarios that may hit our state, including floods, wildfires, earthquakes, and, yes, winter storms.

The Guide offers step-by-step instructions on how to make an effective Family Emergency Plan. The checklists describe each item you will want to have on hand in your emergency kit, and provides further recommendations for families with small children, pets, or individuals with special needs. There are even detailed checklists for emergency kits you can have ready to use at work or in your vehicle.

Lastly, but equally important, are instructions on what to do and not do after an emergency is over. We might feel the worst is behind us, but there are still critical steps we can take to aid first responders and protect the lives of our loved ones and neighbors.

Whether you are counting down the days until you can build a snowman and drink hot chocolate by the fire, or cringing at the thought of having to shovel out your driveway on a cold winter morning (or, if you’re like me, a bit of both), reviewing the Pennsylvania Emergency Preparedness Guide and following its simple steps can help keep ourselves and our families safe!