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Weather Emergency Preparedness Week

By Staff | Mar 2, 2009

History shows that Pennsylvania is one of the most flood-prone 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 reason, 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.

“Each family needs to sit down and discuss what they would do in an emergency before it happens,” said Lycoming County EMA Manager, Richard Knecht. “Each person needs to know who the family’s emergency contact is and how to reach that person, and how the family plans to get back together in case an emergency happens while they’re separated. In addition, families need to plan for their pets. Having a plan in place can make an emergency a little less scary for everyone.”

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, flashlights, a battery-operated radio and fresh batteries. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has created a website designed to help citizens prepare for emergencies before they happen. Emergency kit checklists and family plan templates can be downloaded free of charge at www.ReadyPA.org.

“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,” Knecht 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 take 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. There questions are when and where. That uncertainty requires preparation in advance to minimize loss of life and property during a weather emergency.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This important information was provided by the Lycoming County Emergency Management Agency as part of Pennsylvania’s Weather Emergency Preparedness Week.