IN Phoenixville Area Summer 2017 - Page 54

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) urge all Pennsylvanians to prepare now for potential floods. Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states. However, all floods are not alike. Some floods develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days. But flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water that carries rocks, mud, and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path. Overland flooding occurs outside a defined river or stream, such as when a levee is breached, but still can be destructive. Flooding can also occur when a dam breaks, producing effects similar to flash floods. Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood. Every state is at risk from this hazard. What is the flood risk where I live? How can I protect myself from a flood? Floods can happen anywhere, at any time, and they can happen fast. To ensure you aren’t caught unprepared, here are some actions you can take: Prepare a disaster kit: A disaster kit should have essential supplies needed to sustain yourself and your Get A Kit family during and after a disaster. The most essential supplies for a kit are water, non-perishable food, a radio, a first aid kit, extra batteries, and unique family needs such as prescription medications and important family documents. Make an emergency plan: Essential components should include a communication plan, an out- of-town contact, an evacuation plan, a shelter-in-place plan, and knowledge of emergency plans at work, school, and other areas of your community. Keep a list of telephone numbers with you at all times. Stay informed: Keep informed about all the different types of disasters that could affect your home and community. Remember, some of the things you do to prepare are the same for both natural and man-made disasters. To become more familiar with how to react in an emergency visit www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY (1-800-237-3239). Both the website and hotline provide helpful information Make A Plan about disaster preparedness. In the event of flooding, there are a few steps you should take to make sure you and your family stay safe: • Do not walk through a flooded area. Two feet of water can lift and move a car, even an SUV. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else during a flood. Be Informed • Keep away from downed power lines and other electrical wires. Electrocution is often a major cause of death in floods. • Be careful of animals that have lost their homes during a flood. Animals may seek shelter in your home and aggressively defend themselves. To learn more about getting your home, family, business, or community ready, call 1-800-BE-READY or visit www.ready.gov. In addition to general disaster preparedness tips, the website has information specific to different groups such as children and the disabled, and provides links to some local resources. There are also brochures and booklets available that can provide you with more tips on disaster preparedness that are downloadable from the website, or can be mailed to your home or business by ordering through the toll-free number or online. FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages to National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003. More disaster information is available on the Internet at www.fema.gov, www.paflooding.state.pa.us , or www.sba.gov . Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability or economic status. Anyone who believes he or she has been discriminated against should contact the federal or commonwealth coordinating officer. 52 Phoenixville Area