Information on how to prepare for different kinds of emergencies in Schuylkill County.
Seminar or Course on preparedness
From time to time local EMA or the American Red Cross sponsor programs to assist with preparedness. Check our calendar and watch social media for upcoming events.
Make an emergency plan
Information on how to make an emergency plan to prepare for any emergencies that may come up.
Plan for everyone
Information on how to make emergency plans for everyone in your household, including your pets.
Make a shelter-in-place kit
Information on how to create a kit to keep in your house for use in an emergency when you can't leave the house.
Make a go bag
Information on how to make a personal evacuation kit. It should have basic supplies to help keep you and your family healthy and safe.
Keep documents safe
Information on how to keep your paper and computer files and records safe in an emergency.
Know whether to stay or go
Information on what to do in an emergency that requires you to stay home, and in an emergency that requires you to evacuate.
Information on how to stay informed during an emergency using Schuylkill Alert and the media.
Make an emergency plan
It is much better to plan ahead for an emergency than trying to throw together a plan in the middle of an emergency. To be ready, you need to start planning for an emergency now! Personal and family preparedness is the first step.
Think about different kinds of emergencies, like a house fire, snow storm, power outage, hurricane or terrorist attack. What supplies would you need in each situation? Where would you go if you needed to leave your home?
You’re responsible for having an emergency plan, storing emergency supplies in your home and knowing how to shelter-in-place and evacuate.
Write the plan down
Don’t rely on memory. Write down what your family will do when there is an emergency, use the emergency contact form to record important contact details. Make sure everyone in your household has a copy! Family members can keep the plan and emergency contacts in wallets and backpacks.
Learn about shelter-in-place
Pick one room in your home to be your shelter-in-place room. Have enough food and other supplies for three days.
Talk about how to evacuate
If you are told to evacuate, you will have to leave your home quickly. You should decide what you will need to take with you in your go bag.
Pick two places where your family/household can meet after an emergency. One place should be near your home. The other place should be outside your neighborhood.
Plan for everyone
Include everyone in the household, especially seniors, those with special needs, non-English speakers and pets. Fill out a health information form for anyone with medical conditions, special needs, or prescription medications.
Create a family communications plan
Ask an out-of-area friend or relative to be someone that household members can call during an emergency. Be sure every member of your family has the phone number of the emergency contact person.
Make sure to practice your plan at home. Have fire drills, make sure you use different exits every time you practice. Practice getting to your emergency meeting places and make sure everyone knows how to get there.
Plan for when you are away from home
You and your family may spend significant time at work or school and you need to have a plan for that also. Part of that is being aware of your location and the emergency plans that are in place. Evacuation from buildings, sheltering in place, emergency communication and notification and accountability are all critical to the safety of persons in a business or school. Your personal preparedness knowledge is also an important part of situations that we may encounter in public places.
Plan for everyone
Everyone who lives with you should be included in your emergency planning. This includes your pets. Make sure you make plans for seniors, people who need special help, and people who don’t speak English.
Fill out a health information form for anyone who takes medicines or who has a medical need. This includes anyone who has trouble walking or is in a wheelchair, or who can’t hear or see well. This information can be added to the Schuylkill County Special Needs Survey called SNAP
Functional and access needs
If you have a functional or access need, such as needing a walker, or assistance while walking, you need an emergency plan for both home and work. Make sure you share your plans with caregivers and emergency contacts.
Create a network for emergency support
A personal support network is especially important for people who face physical challenges during an emergency. Choose trusted family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers to be part of your support network. Have more than one person who can help you.
Once you have your personal support network in place, you should:
- Make sure that everyone in your personal support network knows how to contact you in an emergency.
- Ask a friend or relative who lives out-of-state to be your emergency contact. If local phone lines are busy in an emergency, it may be easier to make long-distance calls. Your out-of-state contact can help you keep in touch with others.
- Arrange for more than one person to check on you right after an emergency.
- Pick two places to meet with family, friends, or caregivers after an emergency. One should be right outside your home. The other meeting place should be outside your neighborhood. You could choose a library, community center, or place of worship.
Special evacuation needs to think about
- Will you need help to evacuate? Decide who will help you and how you will get to a safe place or shelter.
- Do you have a way to reach your emergency contacts?
- Do you know all the usable exits from each room and from your building? Make a habit of knowing where the exits are when you are in a new location such as a shopping mall, restaurant, or theater.
- Do you know evacuation plans for the places where you spend time? Every building’s plan is different.
- Do you have a backup transportation plan in case your usual way is not available?
- Do you use special ways to communicate, such as American Sign Language or computers that “speak”? Make a plan for how you will communicate with emergency workers and other unfamiliar people.
- Have you practiced your plans? If you do practice drills, you can evacuate easier during a real emergency.
- Have you practiced dealing with different conditions and unexpected situations, such as blocked paths or exits?
- Are you blind or have low vision? Make sure members of your support network practice guiding and directing you. Also include service animals in all drills so they learn exit routes.
Pet emergency kit
Keep your pets safe
Pets are part of your family, and they need to be part of your Family Emergency Plan. If you have to evacuate, take your pets too. Most shelters don’t let pets in unless they are service animals; however, Schuylkill CART will assist by caring for your pets at an adjacent shelter location established for pets.
Pet emergency planning tips
- Ask friends or relatives outside your neighborhood if you and your pets can stay with them in an emergency.
- Ask a neighbor, friend, or family member if they will look after your pets if you can’t get back home in an emergency.
- Know your pets’ hiding places so that you can find them quickly.
- If you need to go to an evacuation shelter, bring your pets with you only if you have nowhere else to take them.
Make sure each pet has:
A license and ID tag and current vaccinations
- A three-day supply of food, water, and medicines
- Bowls and a manual can opener for wet food
- Collar, leash, muzzle, and carriers/cages to keep pets safe and make sure that they can’t run away
- Copies of your animal’s health records, registration, proof of vaccination, pet license numbers, and microchip numbers
- Animal first aid kit, including flea and tick treatments
- Contact information for your vet
- Any medicine your pet takes, along with a list of the medication, dose, and why your pet takes the medicine
- Toys and treats
- Litter, litter box, and scoop (if necessary)
- Plastic bags, paper towels, and cleaning supplies
- Photos of your pet
For more information about how Pennsylvania supports animals during disasters, visit the website of the Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) also provides information on disaster preparedness for pets.
“Shelter in place” is a phase that is used to advise the public to stay indoors during an incident, regardless of it is your residence or any other location that you may be at (i.e. work, school, a mall, church etc.). In the event of an emergency, such as the release of a hazardous material or an active shooter, it is not always recommended to immediately evacuate the area. Leaving your location may expose yourself to harm. When you are notified of a situation and the recommendation is to “shelter in place”, please do so and monitor official channels for further instructions. Often a recommendation to close windows and doors and turn off ventilation and air conditioners accompany a release of a hazardous materials. During law enforcement activity in a neighborhood, resident may be advised to “shelter in place”. See our guidance on “Shelter in place kits" for additional preparatory recommendations.
The need to evacuate is dependent on the situation. Many evacuations may be local in nature and last for less than 12 hours. Local sheltering options may be to relocate residents to a local facility of relative safety, perhaps a fire hall, school or church. If you are asked to evacuate and do not have a means of transport, inform the local authorities of your needs. Make sure you bring any medicines or special supplies. If you have a cell phone, bring a charger also. Take you “Go Bag” with you!
Please consider the sheltering operation as a place of last resort. Especially in the first hours of a shelter opening, there may be minimal staffing and supplies. Often times there will not be cots or bedding immediately available. If you can safely shelter in place at home or go to the home of a friend or relative, that may be preferable to going to a shelter. Sheltering information will be available through local authorities and will be added to the information provided through Schuylkill Alert and our other social media accounts as well as disseminated through all of the media outlets.
Make a shelter-in-place kit
“Shelter-in-place” is another way of saying “stay inside.” It’s a way to keep safe during some kinds of emergencies, such as winter storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. You may also be told to shelter-in-place during police activity or the release of a gas or chemical, where going outside could put you in harm’s way. If you’re told to stay where you are during an emergency, being prepared will help you and your family.
What to put in your shelter-in-place kit
Your shelter-in-place kit needs to have enough supplies to last up to three (3) days.
Make sure to include the following items in your kit. You can get many of these at a dollar store.
- One gallon of drinking water for each person for each day. Include food and water for pets
- Ready-to-eat or canned foods that won’t spoil quickly
- Manual can opener
- Forks, spoons, knives, plates, and cups
- First aid kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries. You can also buy wind-up radios that don’t need batteries
- Fully-charged backup batteries or power banks for cell phones
- A whistle to signal for help
- Iodine tablets or one quart of unscented bleach and an eyedropper. To disinfect water with bleach, add 8 drops of bleach for each gallon of water. Disinfect water only if told to do so by health officials
- Personal hygiene items for each person, such as hand sanitizer, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, and wipes
- Child care supplies or other special care items
- Trash bags, plastic sheeting, scissors, and duct tape
- Common tools
- A copy of your family emergency plan
Depending on your needs, you may also want to have these items in your kit:
- Back-up medical equipment, such as oxygen, a scooter battery, mobility aids, hearing aids and batteries, and glasses
- Supplies for pets and service animals
Don't forget to...
- Have enough supplies for everyone in your home. This includes pets.
- Keep your shelter-in-place kit in a place where you can get to it easily.
- Tell everyone in your home that the kit is only for emergencies.
- Check the food and batteries in your kit twice a year to make sure they haven’t expired. An easy way to remember is to check the kit each time you reset your clocks for the start or end of Daylight Savings Time.
Make a go bag
A “go bag” is a personal evacuation kit. It has basic supplies to help keep you and your family healthy, safe, and financially protected when you need to leave your home quickly.
Be ready to take these things with you:
- Copies of your important documents. These include insurance cards, photo IDs, birth certificates, deeds, proof of address, and your family emergency plan. Keep these in a waterproof bag or box that is also easy to carry.
- Extra set of car and house keys.
- Cash, especially in small bills (ones, fives, and tens). You may not be able to use credit cards or ATM cards if the power is out.
- Bottled water and ready-to-eat foods such as energy or granola bars.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries. You can also buy wind-up radios that do not require batteries.
- Medications and health information, including:
- A three-day supply of all medicines. Make a habit of refilling medications before they run out or expire.
- A health information form for each person in your household, or a list of the medicines each member of your household takes. Include the name of the medicine, the dosage, what it’s for, and when to take it, such as after eating or before bedtime.
- Copies of all prescriptions, and contact information for your family’s doctors and pharmacists.
- First aid kit.
- Comfortable and sturdy shoes, a lightweight rain coat, and a mylar blanket.
- Contact and meeting place information for your household.
- A local map showing your neighborhood’s emergency evacuation routes (pdf).
- Personal care items: hand sanitizer, feminine products, toothbrush and toothpaste, toilet paper and wipes.
- Special care items, including child care supplies, items for special needs, and pet supplies.