Monday, March 23, 2015

How to Make a Go Bag

In the event that you need to evacuate your home due to fire, flooding or some other emergency, it's important to have essential supplies for each member of your household ready to go in a portable kit. Many of these materials can be found around your home or even at a dollar store: 

  • Copies of your important documents, such as insurance cards, photo IDs, birth certificates, deeds, and proof of address. Keep these in a waterproof and portable container. 
  • Extra set of car and house keys.   
  • Credit and ATM cards.   
  • Cash, especially in small bills (ones, fives and tens).   
  • Bottled water and ready-to-eat foods, such as energy or granola bars.   
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.   
  • Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries (You can also buy wind-up radios that do not require batteries.)  
  • Medication. Be sure to refill medications before they expire. Fill out a Health Information Card or keep a list of the medications each member of your household takes, why they take them, and their dosages. Also keep copies of all prescriptions, and your doctors’ and pharmacist’s contact information.   
  • First-aid kit.   
  • Sturdy, comfortable shoes, lightweight rain gear, and a mylar blanket.   
  • A copy of your Household Emergency Plan with important contact and meeting place information.  
  • A small regional map (Emergency Evacuation Route Map).   
  • Personal care items: hand sanitizer, feminine products, toothbrush and toothpaste, toilet paper and wipes.  
  • Special care items, including child care supplies, items for special needs and pet supplies.

Monday, March 16, 2015

9 Flood Safety Tips


It’s important to be prepared for flooding no matter where you live, but particularly if you are in a low-lying area, near water, or downstream from a dam. Even a very small stream or dry creek bed can overflow and create flooding, so follow these tips:
  • Know your area's flood risk and consider flood insurance. To estimate your flood risk and flood insurance premium, visit or call 1-800-427-2419.   
  • Make an itemized list of personal property, including furnishings, clothing, and valuables.  
  • Fill out a Household Emergency Plan containing important contacts for you and your family in the event of any emergency.
  • Sign up for ReadyNotifyPA, the region’s emergency text and email alert system, and find out first by logging on to  (The alerts are free; however, your wireless provider may charge for text messaging.)
  • Prepare a Go Bag with a portable AM/FM radio that you can grab when you need to evacuate you home and it is safe to leave.
  • Learn the safest route to higher ground from your home or place of business to stay in case you have to evacuate. This should be part of your Household Emergency Plan.
  • If you live in a flood-susceptible area, keep materials, such as sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber, on hand to help protect your home.  
  • Never walk across flood waters, just six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. 
  • Avoid flooded roadways and do not attempt to drive through flood waters, just two feet of moving water can sweep a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) off the road.

Monday, March 9, 2015

How to Shelter-in-Place

In the event that the outside air becomes contaminated, due to a hazardous materials spill; or that it's simply safer to stay indoors, like during a major storm; be prepared to Shelter-in-Place.

Prepare to Shelter-in-Place by identifying a room in your home that is large enough for everyone in your household, including pets; that is above street level; with as few doors and windows as possible; with access to water, electricity, a phone jack and bathroom facilities. Officials may instruct you to seal the room, so be ready to seal any doors, windows, air vents and exhaust fans with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Also, it's important to know how to turn off exhaust fans, heating and cooling systems and close any fireplace dampers.

Then, create a Shelter-in-Place Kit with at least a three day supply of the following items for everyone in your home, including pets:
  • Three gallons of drinking water per person.
  • Food that will not perish easily, such as granola bars, energy bars and canned foods.
  • Manual can opener and eating utensils.
  • Plastic sheeting (pre-cut to fit your doors, windows, air vents), scissors and duct tape.
  • First-aid Kit.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
  • A whistle to signal for help.
  • Iodine tablets or one quart of unscented bleach and an eyedropper. (Disinfect water ONLY if directed to do so by health officials. To disinfect water with bleach, add 8 drops of bleach per gallon of water.)
  • Personal care items: soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper and baby wipes.
  • Phone that does not need electricity (just plugs into a phone jack).
  • Child care supplies or other special needs items like medicine or supplies for your pets.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Daylight Saving Time Begins - Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks

When adjusting your clock for Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, March 9, the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management reminds you to refresh your emergency supplies and change your smoke alarm battery. If you are not prepared for an emergency, now is the time to "Get Ready!"

Every household should have a Go Bag to evacuate and a Shelter-in-Place Kit with at least a three-day supply of bottled water, not-easily-perishable foods and essential medications set aside for each member of the family, including pets.

Take the time now to check your supplies:

  • Make sure your radio and flashlight work properly.
  • Check the expiration date of your extra batteries.
  • Open your first-aid kit and look for expiration dates of the items, such as aspirin or any other medications in your supplies.
  • Refresh your emergency supply of not-easily-perishable food and water.
  • Review your Household Emergency Plan with the members of your household and update the emergency contacts, if necessary.
  • Hold an emergency drill, like a home fire drill.
  • Remember your pets – include them in your plan and refresh their emergency supply of food and water.
  • Register with ReadyNotifyPA, the region's emergency text and email alert system, and find out first in an emergency. The alerts are free but your wireless provider may charge for text message. To sign up, visit