September is National Preparedness Month! We will also be highlighting September training opportunities, children and youth preparedness and recent events in Lancaster County.
National Preparedness Month
Every September, nationwide, communities practice preparedness for National Preparedness Month. FEMA launched National Preparedness Month in 2004 to encourage preparedness and the Ready Campaign. Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, September was chosen as National Preparedness Month to highlight the importance of preparedness for disasters and emergencies across the county.
The Ready Campaign’s 2023 National Preparedness Month theme is “Take Control in 1, 2, 3”. The campaign will focus on preparing older adults for disasters, specifically older adults from communities that are disproportionally impacted by the all-hazard events, which continue to threaten the nation.
We know older adults can face greater risks when it comes to the multitude of extreme weather events and emergencies we now face, especially if they are living alone, are low-income, have a disability, or live in rural areas.
Emergency managers and all those who work with and support older adult communities to access the new webpage available in English and Spanish languages at Ready.gov/older-adults and Ready.gov/es/adultos-mayores for initial messaging, graphics and resources. For more information on preparing with disabilities visit Ready.gov/disability or Ready.gov/es/discapacidad in Spanish.
How can we individually prepare for disasters and emergencies? We can identify risks and prepare for them. Ask yourself and family members:
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is my household communication plan?
- Do I need to update my emergency preparedness kit?
After identifying how you will receive information, where and how you will stay safe, and who to contact make your emergency supply kit. Each household should have an emergency kit which includes:
- Non-perishable food and water for several days
- Flashlights, radios, batteries, and chargers
- First aid kit
- Medications and eyeglasses
- Important documentation
Your plan and kit should reflect the individuals in your household including children, pets, older adults, and those with access and functional needs. You may want to add comfort items for a child, documentation for your pet, necessary mediations, and a contact list of your pharmacy and doctors’ offices.
Identifying risks, creating a plan, and making a kit are the first steps to preparedness. The second step is practicing your plan. Know and practice two or more evacuation routes from your home. Practice getting to your meeting point and having your kit.
To learn more about preparedness visit https://www.ready.gov/.
Back to School: Children and Youth Preparedness
Family Communication Plan and Emergency Kits
If a disaster happens, knowing who to call and where to meet is an important part of emergency planning for you and your family. Use the Family Communication Plan to write down all of your family contact information and keep a copy with you wherever you go. A great place to keep this is in your backpack!
When making an emergency kit, it’s important to know what your family already has and what you still need. Sit down with your family and use this checklist to decide what else you need to make sure you and your family are prepared for any emergency.
Items to include in my Emergency Kit:
- Nonperishable Food
- Can Opener
- Comfort Item (small toy, game, blanket, etc.)
- First Aid Kit
- And more Create my list.
Activities and Books
There are several books and activities you can do with your children to learn about natural disasters and emergency preparedness.
For Parents and Guardians
Have a plan. Talk to your children about emergency preparedness, evacuation routes out of your home, a meeting point, what goes in an emergency kit and practice evacuation.
Helping your child cope following a disaster
Disasters can leave children and teens feeling frightened, confused and insecure. Their responses can be quite varied. It's important to not only recognize these reactions, but also help children cope with their emotions.
- Encourage dialogue and answer questions- Listen to your kids. Ask them about their feelings and validate their concerns. When they ask questions, give just the amount of information you feel your child needs.
- Limit media exposure- Intense media coverage of disasters can frighten young children and disturb teenagers as well. If your children watch TV or use the internet, try to be available to talk with them and answer questions.
- Make time for them and find support- Help kids understand that they are safe and secure by talking, playing, and doing other family activities with them. Build support networks with friends, family, and community organizations to help you cope, which can also help your children cope.
- Keep to a routine- Help your children feel as if they still have a sense of structure, which can make them feel more relaxed. When schools and childcare open again, help children return to normal activities like going to class, sports, and play groups.
September Training Opportunity
Our training calendar has a new look! We have moved over to lancastercountypa.gov. Here you can find training opportunities by selecting “Calendar” on the left-hand column then select Public Safety Training Calendar under the “Jump To” section.
Training Opportunities from Lancaster County Emergency Management and Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center can be found here.
August 7th, 2023
On the evening of August 7th, south-central and eastern Pennsylvania received severe weather including strong winds, hail, and isolated tornadoes. Southern Lancaster County experienced storm damage in the way of structural damage to 2 buildings; property damage with many downed trees; and utility damage with many citizens without power from downed power lines.
Lancaster County Emergency Management with the assistance of local fire departments and Lancaster County Wide Communications was able to identify key areas of damage to respond and began completing damage assessments within an hour of the storm passing the area. Lancaster County Emergency Management completed full assessments the next morning in conjunction with HazMat 2 Environmental Fire Rescue providing drone support for surveying and local emergency management coordinators to assist with public engagement.
Emergency management met with a representative from the National Weather Service to review the data. National Weather Service ultimately determined that there was a brief EF0 tornado that touched down in Lancaster County. Straight-line winds and downburst winds caused the remaining damage. Lancaster Emergency Management would like to extend its gratitude to all agencies and partners that aided in the storm response on August 7th and 8th.
National Night Out
LEMA staff were out in both Manheim Township, East Lampeter Township and Quarryville with information for residents on how they can stay better prepared in the event of an emergency.