Monday, March 2, 2015

Daylight Saving Time Begins - Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks

When adjusting your clock for Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, March 9, the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management reminds you to refresh your emergency supplies and change your smoke alarm battery. If you are not prepared for an emergency, now is the time to "Get Ready!"

Every household should have a Go Bag to evacuate and a Shelter-in-Place Kit with at least a three-day supply of bottled water, not-easily-perishable foods and essential medications set aside for each member of the family, including pets.

Take the time now to check your supplies:

  • Make sure your radio and flashlight work properly.
  • Check the expiration date of your extra batteries.
  • Open your first-aid kit and look for expiration dates of the items, such as aspirin or any other medications in your supplies.
  • Refresh your emergency supply of not-easily-perishable food and water.
  • Review your Household Emergency Plan with the members of your household and update the emergency contacts, if necessary.
  • Hold an emergency drill, like a home fire drill.
  • Remember your pets – include them in your plan and refresh their emergency supply of food and water.
  • Register with ReadyNotifyPA, the region's emergency text and email alert system, and find out first in an emergency. The alerts are free but your wireless provider may charge for text message. To sign up, visit

Monday, February 23, 2015

5 Tips for De-icing Your Sidewalk

When snow, sleet or freezing rain is in the weather forecast, treat the pavement around your property with commercial de-icer to keep those walkways safe. The Philadelphia Streets Department recommends the following tips:
  • Any commercial de-icer is acceptable for salting your sidewalk or driveway.
  • Salt should be applied as soon as a light accumulation has developed on the surface. This will break the bond between subsequent accumulations and the pavement, thereby making it easier to shovel. A final light application may be required after removal to melt the remaining residual snow.
  • During a sleet or freezing rain storm, de-icing of sidewalks and driveways will require multiple applications as dictated by the actual conditions.
  • Be conscious of the environment. Use de-icing salts sparingly. One pound can be used to cover 100 to 200 square feet. For example, 30 to 60 feet of sidewalk with a width of three feet can be treated at this rate. The material can be spread manually or with the help of simple equipment such as lawn seed and fertilizer spreaders. If spreaders are used, they should be rinsed out once the application is completed.
  • Kitty litter can also be used to generate temporary traction.
Find more Winter Safety Tips on the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management's Winter Weather page.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Drive Safely This Winter

With bitter cold winds still in the air, now is a good time to review some safe driving tips for the winter. Remember, during a snow or ice storm it is safer to stay off the roads or use public transportation.

If you must drive:

  • Avoid driving until road crews clear roadways.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car.
  • Let family or friends know your travel schedules and routes.
  • Keep a supply of sand, kitty litter or road salt in your car for generating traction.
  • Carry a cell phone.
  • Before starting your car, clear snow from the tail pipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Completely clear your vehicle of snow and ice, including windows, mirrors, roof, trunk, hood, and lights. 
  • Allow extra time and use caution while driving.
  • Travel in daylight and don't travel alone.
  • Turn on your lights to increase visibility to other motorists. Use low beams during heavy or blowing snow.
  • Stay on main roads.
  • Be aware of potentially icy areas, such as shady spots, bridges and overpasses.
  • Drive at speeds dictated by conditions. Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills. Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  • Avoid sudden stops and starts. Brake gently to prevent skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  • Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the roadway.
  • Do not pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary. Treat these vehicles as you would emergency response vehicles.
  • Stay tuned to the news for updates on the weather and road conditions or sign up for these alerts from ReadyNotifyPA, the region emergency text/email alert system.
  • Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel drive and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

If you get stranded in your car:

  • Pull off the highway and turn on your hazard lights.
  • Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter.
  • Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the tail pipe to guard against carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Take turns sleeping. One person should stay awake to look for rescue crews.
  • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.

Monday, February 9, 2015

15 Essentials for Winter Roadside Emergencies


With the 2015 Philadelphia Auto Show wrapping up at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle with the following essentials:
  • Flashlight and extra batteries. 
  • Battery-operated or wind-up radio.
  • Jumper cables. 
  • Emergency flares. 
  • Tow chains or tow rope. 
  • Cell phone and charger. 
  • First-aid kit. 
When driving in the winter, add a few more emergency supplies in case you get stranded in the ice and snow. These items include:
  • Warm clothing, hats and mittens. 
  • Blankets.
  • Ice scraper.
  • Snow shovel. 
  • Road salt or sand. 
  • Snacks (granola bars or energy bars).
  • Bottled water.
  • Any special needs, such as medication, baby supplies, pet food – if you travel with your pet.
For additional information on preparing for the winter, visit the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management's Winter Preparedness page or consult the Winter Driving Guide from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).