ARE YOU PREPARED?
Emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities just like ours, to people just like you. Large-scale emergencies and disasters can range from inconvenient to devastating. Incidents such as hurricanes, tornado’s, river floods, flash floods, earthquakes, water main breaks and power outages have affected millions of people, often for days at a time.
During and following an emergency police, fire and rescue personnel may not always be able to reach you quickly, such as if trees and power lines are down or if they’re overwhelmed by demand. The most important thing you can do is be able to take care of yourself and those in your care.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate reminds us, “Individuals and families are the most important members of the nation’s emergency management team. Being prepared can save precious time if there is a need to respond to an emergency.”
It’s time to renew your commitment to prepare and plan for emergencies.
There are 4 steps that you can take to prepare yourself, your family and your neighborhood:
- Get A Kit
- Make A Plan
- Stay Informed
- Get Involved
Be prepared…following a disaster or large scale emergency you may be on your own and need to take care of yourself and your family. Emergency responders and relief personnel will come but it may take hours, possibly days, for them to reach everyone!
Local, state and federal emergency officials repeatedly stress the following – you should have a disaster supply kit, which is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. Your kit should include at least a 72-hour supply of non-perishable food, water, and supplies, including medications, for each person and animal in your home.
Assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.
Get a kit! Here are the options:
- Make your own kit (visit www.ready.gov and click on “Get A Kit” to get a list of recommended items/quantities), or
- Purchase ready-made kits (There are several websites where you can view and purchase emergency supply kits, such as the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org and click on “shop” for kits and supplies).\
- Also, since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, you should also prepare a kit for your work and car.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family is plan! Please consider this…we don’t control when disasters strike. Your family may not be together…It may be dark and your family is sleeping…It may be while you are at work and children are in school, daycare, etc.
What will you do? Where will you go? How will you reunite if you and your family are separated?
We can learn from the experiences of individuals throughout our country who are still coping with disasters they thought “would never happen to me.” By developing a family emergency plan in advance, you and your family are better prepared and equipped to respond appropriately. If separated, you will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance.
Go to www.ready.gov and click on “Make A Plan.” You’ll find a list of simple and practical steps that you can take.
As much as possible, involve all family members in the planning process. Once the family emergency plan is complete – be sure to give a copy to all family members AND practice your plan!
Keep in mind…developing and practicing an emergency plan will: 1) improve your family’s confidence in their ability to handle an emergency, and 2) help them be better prepared if you’re separated when an emergency occurs.
Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. Protect yourself and your families… remain updated on incidents and warnings affecting our community. (For more information, go to www.ready.gov and click on “Be Informed”.)
In addition to radio and television reports, the following are free services that will keep you informed by delivering alerts to your e-mail and cell phone:
- www.nixle.com Upper Macungie residents can receive public safety alerts directly from the Upper Macungie Police Department. Please go to the website and click on “Sign Up Now!”
- https://alert.pa.gov Sign up to receive weather watches and warnings affecting our community. The AlertPA system is administered by Pennsylvania officials. Pennsylvania uses AlertPA to provide citizens and partners with timely information to assist them in making informed decisions.
- Reverse 911 Lehigh County provides its residents and visitors with Reverse 911 community notifications in the event of emergency situations or during other situations that may warrant community notification, such as during major or prolonged weather events. These notifications are meant to provide information that is critical to the safety and well being of the county’s residents and visitors.
Reverse 911 Notifications are provided via a telephone notification system that will dial each telephone number in the system within the affected area and provide the person who answers with any pertinent information regarding the emergency.
Who is already in the Lehigh County Reverse 911 system?
Persons who have “traditional” wireline telephone service, such as Verizon, Ironton, Frontier, Service Electric, Blue Ridge and RCN are already in our system, even if you have an unlisted phone number.
Who should register their home or business phone in the Lehigh County Reverse 911 system?
Those who have landline telephone service provided by VOIP services, such as Vonage, Magic Jack, and other companies need to register their home telephone number in order to receive alerts from our system. If you are not sure whether your telephone service is VOIP, contact your telephone provider for confirmation.
If I want notifications to my wireless phone (cell phone), must I register my number?
YES, you must register your cell phone if you want messages sent to it! Wireless telephone numbers are not automatically included in the Lehigh County Reverse 911 system and must be registered by the phone’s owner.
PLEASE NOTE that during times of widespread emergency situations, cellular telephone networks may be overloaded and messages may not be sent by the wireless carriers in a timely manner.
For more information on the Lehigh CountyReverse 911 system: please visit the Lehigh County Emergency Management webpage (www.ema.lehighcounty.org) Then click on “Sections” and select “Reverse 911 Registration”.
Major disasters can overwhelm first responder agencies. The whole community can participate in programs and activities to make their families, homes and communities safer from risks and threats.
The best time to Get Involved is before a disaster occurs and following are a few ways:
CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)
CERT is about “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” in your own neighborhood during an emergency. Following a disaster, these citizen-responders use their training as part of their neighborhood team to help others when professional responders are overwhelmed or not immediately available.
CERT training is a program that educates citizens about the hazards they face in their community and trains them in lifesaving skills. Following a disaster, these citizen-responders use their training as part of their neighborhood team to help others when professional responders are overwhelmed or not immediately available.
“The basic CERT training program is a 16-hour course. Training sessions cover disaster preparedness, fire suppression, basic disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, team organization, and a module on terrorism to educate CERT members about BNICE agents: Biological, Nuclear, Incendiary, Chemical, and Explosive. This module will help CERT members identify situations where these agents may have been used and protective actions that they should take. The training concludes with a disaster simulation in which participants practices skills they learned throughout the course.” (Source: Citizen – A Guide for Local Officials, Citizen Corps, www.citizencorps.gov)
The Lehigh County Emergency Management Agency offers free CERT trainings to develop our community’s ability to respond to an emergency situation. Volunteers must be at least 15 years of age to participate, or participate with parent/adult supervision.
If a disaster struck our community and it caused emergency responders to be delayed, what would you do?
If you would help your neighbors until the emergency responders arrived then the time to get involved is now…Join the Upper Macungie CERT!
For information about Upper Macungie CERT or upcoming CERT trainings, contact MaryEllen (Mel) Shiels, Upper Macungie CERT Team Leader, at email@example.com or 610-391-8044.