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Message from the PEMA Director: National Preparedness Month 2020

September 07, 2020 09:15 AM
By: PEMA Director Randy Padfield

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​At least once a year, our team at PEMA practices a fire drill. The safety of our team is paramount, and everyone knowing what to do before a disaster strikes improves the likelihood of a safe response during a disaster, and a quicker recovery after the disaster.

When the alarm rings, everyone knows what to have with them, what to do with their work area when they evacuate, where to go, who they communicate with, and how they obtain information for what to do next.

We practice the evacuation drill before something happens because it’s too late to learn what to do during a disaster. Much like a fire drill, knowing what to do in an emergency makes the situation a little less frightening for everyone.

Disasters Don't Wait. Make Your Plan Today.

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). The goal of NPM is to increase the overall number of individuals, families, and communities that engage in preparedness actions at home, work, businesses, school, and places of worship.

The theme this year is, “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.”

The number of hurricanes and tropical storms we have seen this summer is a reminder that disasters won’t wait for a pandemic to be over either. We need to prepare today. And preparing today also includes understanding what to have handy at home and how to reduce the spread of infection when natural disasters strike.

Pennsylvania is Diverse. Pennsylvanians are Resilient.

Pennsylvania is a varied state in population, terrain, economies, and threats. Almost 75 percent of the counties in Pennsylvania are rural. However, Pennsylvania is also home to the 5th largest city in the United States. Preparedness also varies throughout the state because of this diversity. Rural communities often focus on self-reliance and being self-sufficient during emergencies or disasters due to the limited resources available to them on a regular basis. Conversely, in urban environments, the focus is on awareness of resources available to them before and during emergencies and disasters.

The key concept is that all resilient communities – rural, urban, and suburban – understand their specific differences and are able to address their unique needs by working together to resolve challenges. This approach builds a safer, stronger, and more resilient community.

No matter where someone lives in Pennsylvania, it is important to prepare for threats that are common in your community. Regardless of the threat, everyone should have an emergency plan, including what they would do if they need to evacuate their home due to an approaching storm or severe flooding and what they need to have handy at home should they lose power.

Get Started Now.

Three things you can do now to get you started:

  1. Sign up for the Ready PA Monthly newsletter. This monthly resource provides timely tips and planning tools to help you know what to plan for and how to prepare. The September 2020 edition will also include an opportunity to be entered to win a random drawing of a Ready PA Preparedness Kit that includes a wind-up radio, flashlight, or phone charger. But you have to sign up for the free newsletter to participate in the drawing.
  2. Visit www.ready.pa.gov. The preparedness website provides tips, tools, and planning resources to help you determine how best to prepare. Included on our website is the Emergency Preparedness Guide, available in multiple languages and audio format. Also follow PEMA on Facebook and Twitter, and watch this video.
  3. Remember to prepare now for what happens after the disasterReview insurance policies and coverage to ensure it is adequate for the hazards you may face. This includes both those who own and rent their property.

I encourage you to get started now. Encourage your friends and neighbors to get ready for emergencies too. Prepared families build resilient communities, and resilient communities are better equipped to respond to and recover from any type of emergency.


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