For many of us, our pets are part of our family. However, most emergency shelters will not allow your pets to stay with you because of health regulations. Find out ahead of time how to care for your pets when disaster strikes. Animals should never be left behind. Instead, make arrangements ahead of time to take them to a veterinary office, family member's home or animal shelter during an emergency. Also be sure to keep extra items for your pets like food, water and medicines and keep photos of your pets that you can use to help identify them later. For more information, visit the Pets, Service Animals and Livestock section on www.ReadyPA.org.
If you've seen the news recently, you know that emergencies can happen suddenly in communities just like yours, to people just like you. Disasters like major flooding, widespread wild fires, tornado outbreaks or earthquakes can either trap you in your home or force you to flee quickly.
We should all be prepared to make it on our own for at least three days during an emergency by following these three easy steps:
- Get a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for you and your loved ones - things like bottled water, foods that won't spoil, a first aid kit, extra medicines, flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries.
- Make a Plan: Work together with loved ones, trusted neighbors, co-workers and others on an emergency plan.
- Be Informed: Learn about the disasters that are most likely to occur in Pennsylvania, how to prepare for them, and what to do if disaster strikes your area.
Visit www.ReadyPA.org for sample kits, plans and other preparedness information.
Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for help. Post these and other emergency telephone numbers by every telephone in your home. Visit www.Ready.gov/kids for fun emergency preparedness information for children.
Take a moment to imagine that there is an emergency, like a fire in your home, and 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 got the beginning of your family's emergency plan. Visit www.ReadyPA.org for templates you can use to create an emergency plan for you and your loved ones.
In some emergencies you may be required to turn off the utilities at your home. To prepare for this type of event:
- Locate the electric, gas and water shut-off valves.
- Keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves.
- Teach adult family members how to turn off utilities.
If you turn off the gas, a professional must turn it back on. Do not attempt to do this yourself.
For more emergency preparedness information, visit www.ReadyPA.org.
Read Pennsylvania's Emergency Preparedness Guide, print it out and keep a copy in your emergency supply kit. The guide has information on the top ten emergencies that can happen in Pennsylvania as well as what you need to do to before and after disaster strikes. It contains: supply checklists for your home, car and workplace; information for those with special needs (including older Pennsylvanians, those with special medical needs, children and pets, service animals and livestock); phone numbers for emergency management agencies and Department of Health offices in your area; and an emergency plan that you can use to fill in all of your important information (including wallet-sized cut-out cards). Visit www.ReadyPA.org for more information.
You should identify different locations where you can meet loved ones after a disaster strikes. Start with at least two. Choose one right outside your home in case of a sudden household emergency, such as a fire. The second place you choose needs to be outside your neighborhood, in case it is not safe for you to return to your home. For more information on making an emergency plan for your family, visit www.ReadyPA.org.