HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is reminding residents to monitor local weather conditions as warmer temperatures and rain could cause creeks, streams and rivers to flood.
“A lot of snow across the state has melted, but the snow that remains on the ground not only in Pennsylvania, but in West Virginia, Maryland and New York, contains a lot of water,” said PEMA Director Robert P. French. “Melting snow and rainwater from those neighboring states will be coming our way and will likely impact residents and businesses here. In some areas, the impact could be significant.”
Whenever flooding is a possibility, residents of flood-prone areas should move valuables from lower levels of their home and secure any loose outdoor items — such as lawn furniture or trash cans — to keep them from floating away. Residents should also check now to make sure storm drains near their homes are cleared and working.
French said citizens should know at least two ways to leave their homes andcommunities if they are told to evacuate on short notice. Plus, residents should be prepared to survive up to three days in their homes without outside assistance by putting together an emergency kit. French recommends that an emergency kit contain the following basic supplies:
-Battery-operated flashlight and radio, with extra batteries;
-One gallon of water per person per day;
-Essential medication and copies of prescriptions;
-Diapers, formula and other essential baby and toddler supplies;
-First aid kit;
-Manual can opener;
-Cash, credit cards and important legal documents; and
-Food, water, leashes and toys for pets.
French also reminded motorists never to drive through standing water. Just one foot of water is enough to float many vehicles and two feet of rushing water will carry away most vehicles, including trucks and SUVs.
Individuals needing assistance should call their municipal emergency management office in the “Blue Pages” section of the phone book. If they have an emergency, should call 911 immediately. Never call 911 to request or report road conditions. When calling 911 to report an emergency, it is critical for callers to stay on the line, even if for an extended series of rings, until the operator answers. Hang-ups due to frustration result in wasted staff time as the 911 center tries to reestablish contact.
More detailed information on emergency kits, as well as how to create a family emergency plan is available online or by calling 1-888-9-READY-PA. The commonwealth’s ReadyPA campaign encourages citizens to take three basic steps before an emergency: Be Informed, Be Prepared, Be Involved.