Harrisburg, PA – As Pennsylvanians’ attention turns to a fresh start in the new year, PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Randy Padfield and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine are urging citizens to “Resolve to be Ready” in 2021 by creating family emergency plans and emergency kits.
“After an unprecedented year of getting on with our lives amidst a pandemic, many Pennsylvanians could easily start to feel burnt-out or ignore other important risks that we face in our communities,” Padfield said. “While those threats shift between severe weather, flooding, fires and more, we know that the single, most effective way to ensure the safety of our loved ones is to have a plan and follow it. Staying informed and being prepared are critical elements of emergency response.”
Padfield said to create an emergency plan, you should:
- Identify locations in both your community and in a nearby town, where you can meet loved ones;
- Identify an out-of-town contact everyone can check in with;
- Text or use social media to let others know you are safe and where you are;
- Have hard copies of lists of phone numbers and other important information such as doctor’s offices as well as copies of important documents; and
- Practice your plan just like you would a fire drill.
A basic emergency kit should include enough basic supplies to support your loved ones for at least 3 days. Padfield said it should include:
- One gallon of water per person per day;
- Non-perishable food and a manual can opener;
- Vital medical supplies, hearing aid batteries or other medical equipment and mobility devices you may need;
- Specialized items such as baby supplies and pet care products;
- First aid kit;
- Hand-crank or battery-operated flashlights and radio;
- Car cell phone chargers or battery packs;
- Special toys or supplies to keep children and pets occupied and busy.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is good practice to add extra cloth masks and hand sanitizer into a basic emergency kit as well.
“While you wait for your phase to be called to get the vaccine, take time to prepare by learning about the vaccine safety and efficacy,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. “Also, continue using the resources and tools that we provide you to mitigate the spread of the virus. Please download and use the COVID Alert PA app, social distance, mask up, and avoid gatherings. We are close to stopping the spread, but need all Pennsylvanians to play their part, especially into 2021.”
Additional resources, including emergency plan templates and emergency kit checklists, are available online. Padfield also encourages social media users to “follow” PEMA at www.facebook.com/PEMAHQ and @PEMAHQw on Twitter for timely emergency preparedness information.