September is National Preparedness Month and the beginning of PA's 30 Days/30 Ways to be Prepared for Emergencies.
The theme this year is, “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”
Signing up for Pennsylvania's 30 Days/30 Ways is an important start. After signing up, over the next month you will receive tips to highlight effective and simple ways to help you and your loved ones to prepare for emergencies.
Often, we go through our daily lives and see disasters and emergencies occur, and we think that they affect other people and not us. All of us, including those we love, can be affected by a disaster.
The remnants of Hurricane Ida are bringing heavy rains and possible flooding to much of Pennsylvania during the first week of National Preparedness Month. That’s why this month is so important – it raises awareness as to why emergency preparedness is critical to you and your loved ones’ safety and wellbeing.
Each week we will focus on different ways you can protect the ones you love.
- This Week – Make a Plan
- Week 2 – Build a Kit
- Week 3 – Low Cost, No Cost Preparedness
- Week 4 – Teach Youth About Preparedness
- The Final Week – Preparing Beyond September, and a Chance to Win a Preparedness Starter Kit
So, let's get started!
#1: Start with the Basics
You have probably heard before, one of the first steps to being prepared is to have a plan. Preparedness plan, disaster plan, emergency plan, readiness plan — whatever you call it — the purpose of a plan is to know what you will do, where you will go, and what you will need for a disaster before it ever happens.
But where do you start? How about the basics.
Imagine there is an emergency, like a fire in your home. You need to leave quickly. What are the best escape routes from your home? Find at least two ways out of each room. Now, write it down — you’ve just started your plan.
While we’re thinking about home fire safety, learn more about creating your home fire escape plan.
Also, here’s what you need to know about smoke alarms to keep your household safe.
#2: Continue with the "Not-As Basics"
Loved ones with additional needs require additional planning. For people with disabilities or older adults, having a plan is critical. During a disaster, usual ways of support and assistance may not be available for some time after an emergency.
If you or someone you know has a medical condition or disability, learn how to prepare by reading how to plan for special needs.
A survey conducted by PEMA revealed that only 26% of Pennsylvanians age 65 and older have a plan in place when disaster strikes. This sobering statistic tells us that we all have friends, family, neighbors, and consumers who do not have a plan for how to act when a disaster is imminent, don't know how to respond after one has struck, and may not know how to communicate if they are safe or need assistance.
Download this basic planning guide for older adults to get started.
#3: Know Where to Go
There may be any number of reasons that you need a “home escape plan.” Choose an outside meeting place, like a neighbor's house, a streetlight, or a mailbox.
Then find a second place to go outside your neighborhood if it is not safe to stay near or return to your home. You may not be able to reach loved ones by phone or email; so, it’s important to designate a place to meet before something happens.
Get your entire family involved in making and practicing the plan.
Visit the Ready PA Make a Plan page to learn more about making a plan.
#4: Who Needs to Know
Don’t lose the important planning steps you’ve taken. Copy down important contact information and emergency details on a Family Emergency Plan Card. Here you can download simple Family Emergency Plan cards. Fill them out and give one to each member of your family to carry with them.
Remember, you may have contact information stored in your mobile device, but the card is a safe backup if you do not have access to your phone.
Learn More and Get Involved
Learn more about preparedness at ready.pa.gov and sign up for 30 Days/30 Ways.
Follow along and join the conversation by using the hashtag #PreparedInPA with us on Facebook and Twitter!
If you have questions about 30 Days/30 Ways, contact the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).