Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 1:20 EDT

PEMA Urges Residents to Be Ready for Floods, Other Emergencies

March 16, 2012

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Emergency management officials today reminded Pennsylvania residents to plan ahead to prevent potential property loss due to flooding, and to be ready to act quickly whenever severe storms increase the risk of flash flooding.

History has shown that spring and summer storms in Pennsylvania have the potential to trigger flash flooding with little warning, said Glenn Cannon, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

“Many people are still struggling to recover from last year’s historic floods, which brought a stark reminder of why it is essential for residents to always be prepared,” Cannon said. “Although flooding can occur at any time of year, history shows that most floods in our state occur during the spring and summer months.”

Residents should check for appropriate insurance coverage including content and flood insurance, Cannon said. It normally takes 30 days for new flood insurance policies to take effect, so the best time to purchase such a policy is long before flooding is forecast.

Cannon also said it is important for the public to understand the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning because each represents a different level of action to be taken.

  • A flood watch means that flooding may occur. Residents should stay alert and watch rivers and streams, and be prepared to move to high ground quickly.
  • A flood warning means that there is actual flooding. Residents should act at once and move to high ground.

“Every family should have an emergency plan, evacuation routes and discuss a place for family members to meet in the event that they become separated during a flood,” Cannon said. “Families also need to think about family members who may have special needs, as well as their pets.”

Other flood preparedness tips include:

Learn whether your property is above or below the flood stage water level and become familiar with the history of flooding for your region. Learn flood-warning signs and your community alert signals to be better prepared for floods and flash floods. Install check valves in building sewer traps to prevent flood waters from backing up in sewer drains.

Plan and practice an evacuation route. Individuals living in flash flood areas should have several alternative routes.

Have disaster supplies on hand in your home, including:

  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Emergency food and water
  • Manual can opener
  • Essential medicines/prescriptions
  • Cash, credit cards and important legal documents
  • Sturdy shoes

Develop an emergency communication plan in the event that family members are separated from one another during floods or flash floods – a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school – and have a plan for getting back together.

Ask an out-of-town relative or friend to serve as the family contact. After a disaster, it is often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

Free flood safety information, including templates for family emergency plans and checklists for emergency kit supplies, is available at www.ReadyPA.org or by calling 1-888-9-READYPA (1-888-973-2397).

Media contact: Ruth A. Miller, 717-651-2009

SOURCE Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency

Source: PR Newswire