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Being Prepared - Residential / Business

Improving our local and national preparedness is not just a job for the professionals - law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs and others. All Americans should begin a process of learning about potential threats, whether natural or man-made, so we are better prepared to react during severe weather, emergency situations or attack.

Citizens' Emergency Personal Protection Guide [PDF]
This Guide will help you be better prepared for an emergency affecting the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. You will learn what to do before, during, and after an emergency, create a family emergency plan and prepare an Emergency Go Kit.

Disaster Preparedness Planning Guide for Facilities [PDF]
This preparedness planning guide is directed to facility managers and administrators and is intended to provide assistance in meeting the planning requirements necessary to protect employees and clients who may be conducting business within the facility. It is intentionally generic in nature, so that it may apply to a variety of public buildings and large facilities where resident or worker populations may be at risk as a result of natural or human-caused disasters. Effective planning and response is achieved by coordination, cooperation and the participation of many groups, individuals and the community. A highly effective planning and response team can be formed between the facility staff and community groups.

Family Disaster Supplies Kit Guide [PDF]
Disasters happen anytime and anywhere. And when disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond. A highway spill or hazardous material could mean evacuation. A winter storm could confine your family at home. An earthquake, flood, tornado, or any other disaster could cut water, electricity, and telephones-for days.

After a disaster, local officials and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it may take days. Would your family be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives?

Your family will cope best by preparing for disaster before it strikes. One way to prepare is by assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit. Once disaster hits, you won't have time to shop or search for supplies. But if you've gathered supplies in advance, your family can endure an evacuation or home confinement.

House and Building Fires [PDF]
A fire can engulf a structure in a matter of minutes. Understanding the basic characteristics of fire and learning the proper safety practices can be the key to surviving a house or building fire.

Pets and Disasters [PDF]
Make arrangements for your pets as part of your household disaster planning. If you must evacuate your home, it's always best to take your pets with you. For health and space reasons, pets will not be allowed in public emergency shelters. If, as a last resort, you have to leave your pets behind, make sure you have a plan to ensure their care.

Safe Computing Tips [PDF]
Most viruses and worms use e-mail to propagate. In general, keep your operating system and anti-virus software applications up-to-date and apply the latest patches (a fix to a program bug). Learn more.

Extreme Weather and Natural Disasters

Extreme Heat [PDF]
Doing too much on a hot day, spending too much time in the sun or staying too long in an overheated place can cause heat-related illnesses. Know the symptoms of heat disorders and overexposure to the sun, and be ready to give first aid treatment.

Floods and Flash Floods [PDF]

Fire Safety During and After a Flood [PDF]
Use the following safety tips to help protect yourself, your family and your home from the potential threat of fire during or after a flood.

Hurricane Safety Tips [PDF]

Thunderstorms and Lightning [PDF]
Some thunderstorms can be seen approaching, while others hit without warning. It is important to learn and recognize the danger signs and to plan ahead.

Winter Driving [PDF]
The leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents. Preparing your vehicle for the winter season and knowing how to react if stranded or lost on the road are the keys to safe winter driving.

Winter Storms [PDF]
A major winter storm can be lethal. Preparing for cold weather conditions and responding to them effectively can reduce the dangers caused by winter storms.

AccuWeather Information

Health and Wellness


The following information is from the Chester County Department of Emergency Services.

The Centers for Disease Control has allocated 2,097,100 doses of H1N1 vaccine to Pennsylvania - which is far less than what was anticipated based on early estimates provided by the CDC. The vast majority of this vaccine has been distributed to 1,451 certified providers including physician's offices, schools, and hospitals around the state to vaccinate individuals in the recommended target groups at highest risk of getting H1N1 or severe complications.

As vaccine becomes available, the department will continue to fill orders for certified providers and local and county municipal health departments. The agency will also make H1N1 vaccine available at all 60 state health centers across the commonwealth to ensure access to those in the recommended groups. Beginning Monday, Nov. 30, citizens in the recommended target groups who do not have access to the vaccine can go to to make an appointment online or call 1-877-PA HEALTH to set up an appointment.

Priority groups for receiving the H1N1 vaccination include pregnant women; persons six months to 24 years old; healthcare providers and emergency medical services personnel; parents, household members or caregivers of children under six months; and those under 65 with certain underlying medical conditions.

If the federal projections hold true, within the next few weeks the Department of Health expects to be able to move beyond the five target risk groups and make vaccine available to every Pennsylvanian who wants it.

Visit to learn more about priority groups, potential vaccine side effects and other important information.

What you can do to prevent spreading the virus to others:

  • Stay home when you are sick to avoid spreading illnes to others;
  • Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow or a tissue and properly dispose of used tissues;
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • Stay healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and gettingplenty of rest and exercise; and
  • Seek care if you have influenza-like illness

If you have questions, please call the Chester County Communicable Disease Program at 610-344-6452 or the PADOH at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) or visit

For more information on the swine flu, visit the Center for Disease Control website.

Lyme Disease

The following information is from the Chester County Health Department website.

Lyme Disease is a tick-born bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans and pets by infected ticks. In 2007, Pennsylvania was second only to New York with 3,994 reported Lyme disease cases. The number of annual reported cases of Lyme disease in the United States has increased dramatically since national surveillance began in 1982. Much of Chester County is rural and suburban, making it a prime habitat for deer ticks which can carry the Lyme disease bacteria.

Precautions should be taken in high risk area such as damp, grassy, or wooded regions or when outside for an extended period of time while doing yard work, gardening, hiking, etc.

  • Wear clothing that covers the skin and tuck loose pants into socks.
  • Wear light colored clothing because ticks are easier to spot and brush off.
  • Apply an insect repellent with 20-30% DEET to exposed skin other than the face and/or apply permethrin to clothes. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instruction.
  • Walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass and brush.
  • Use a high-heat dryer after washing clothes. This will kill most ticks that might have been attached to clothing.
  • Keep grass mowed and trees trimmed.
  • Remove brush or leave piles accumulated around stone walls or wood piles.
  • Create a woodchip or mulch barrier between woodlands and your yard. Place swing sets and other play equipment in mulched areas away from surrounding woodland edges.
  • Most importantly, check yourself, your family, and your pets frequently for ticks.
  • Preventing Lyme disease can also be a community effort: The '4 Poster' Deer Treatment Bait Station is designed to kills ticks that feed on white-tailed deer. This method has shown up to a 98% effectiveness rate on eliminating blacklegged ticks. (American Lyme Disease Foundation).

Tick Removal
To remove ticks safely, use clean, fine point tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull straight out. Click here for an illustration.

For more information on lyme disease, visit the County Health Department website.

Emergency-Related Web Sites

County Emergency Management Organizations

State and Federal Government

State and Federal Emergency Management


Hazardous Materials

Family and Personal Preparedness

Chester County Hero FundChester County Hero Fund

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