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5 Ways to Be Prepared in the New Year

January 05, 2021 04:00 PM
By: PEMA

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​Still trying to think of a New Year’s resolution that you can actually stick with? One that benefits your and your loved ones’ health and safety? Resolve to be ready!

Being prepared for emergencies is good for everyone – yourself, friends and family, and your community.

Here are five easy things you can do to be more prepared in 2021.

1. Know the Hazards

Learn what hazards can impact your area or region. Knowing if your area is prone to flooding, tornadoes, or other disasters will help you create emergency plans and kits that make sense for you.

The most common hazards in Pennsylvania are listed online. You can learn more about hazards from the PA Emergency Preparedness Guide. To find a list of national hazards, ready.gov can help you be informed.

2. Create Emergency Supply Kits

Emergency supply kits are important to prepare now, so they’re ready to be used following an emergency. After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several hours or even days. Being prepared means having your own food, water, and other supplies to last for several days.

An emergency kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. Consider creating two kits to start: home and car.

Home Emergency Kit

Home kits should include items you may need in case of emergencies, such as a long-term power outage. This includes:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • First aid kit
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Masks and hand sanitizer
  • Medications
  • Food, food bowl, medications, leashes, toys, and other items for pets
  • Comfort items for family members, especially children

Car Emergency Kits

Car kits should include the basics and seasonal items:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flares or reflective triangle
  • Ice scraper
  • Car cell phone charger
  • Blanket and warm clothes
  • Map
  • Cat litter or sand (for better tire traction)

Learn more about building your emergency supply kits.

3. Make a Plan

Creating an emergency plan for your family can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be difficult! Start by discussing the questions below with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.

  • How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  • What is my shelter plan?
  • What is my evacuation route?
  • What is my family/household communication plan?
  • Do I need to update my emergency preparedness kit?

Remember to check with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health and update your emergency plans based on COVID-19.

Find templates and more to help with your emergency plans.

4. Practice Your Plan

Once you have your plan, it’s important to include your loved ones, including children, in practicing your plan, similar to home fire drills. Here are some tips to help engage your family in the process:

  • Designate roles. Give everyone in your family a responsibility. Each family member is an integral part of the plan and each has an important contribution.
  • Role-play. Younger family members may be easily upset if they see a parent worried or panicking. Spend an afternoon pretending an emergency has occurred and allow everyone to practice their designated roles. This will help your family be better prepared for the rush of emotions they may experience during a disaster.
  • Visit emergency meeting places. Make sure your family is familiar with your meeting location. Assist family members in recognizing landmarks to help remind them of where they are or where they should be going.
  • Introduce your family to emergency contacts. Young children may not be comfortable talking with strangers—even strangers their parents have designated as safe. Introduce your children to emergency contacts and explain their role in your family’s disaster plan.
  • Regularly quiz family members about your plan. Make it a game for younger children. The more the family practices the plan, the better family members will be able to recall what to do during an actual emergency.

5. Sign Up for Alerts

It’s important to make sure you’re informed when an emergency or disaster is occurring. Sign up for Pennsylvania-specific weather and other alerts on AlertPA.

Also, make sure you’re following reputable sources on social media and more including:

  • Trusted local weather source
  • News outlets
  • Federal, state, and local agencies and organizations
  • Your region’s National Weather Service office

Learn More

To learn more about ways to Resolve to be Ready in 2021, visit these websites:


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