Friday, July 10, 2015

Deadline Approaching July 31st For ReadyPhiladelphia Emergency Alert Enrollment.

Those who were registered under ReadyNotifyPA have three weeks to sign up for OEM’s new system to continue receiving important information.
           One of the alerts sent out during last night’s thunderstorm warning of flooding

By Jeffrey D. Kolakowski July 10, 2015 @PhilaOEM

Last night, thunderstorms rolled through Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. If you signed up for alerts though Philadelphia's Office of Emergency Management, you received real time texts, calls or emails warning you of severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings.

Important as there was heavy rain and lightning over a prolonged period. Philadelphia Police also reported road closures due to street flooding.

Recently, ReadyNotifyPA transitioned to ReadyPhiladelphia, an important service providing emergency alerts from the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management.

The safety of our neighbors in the city is our biggest concern, and being prepared is a huge part of being safe.

That is why we want to call attention to those who were registered previously with ReadyNotifyPA. You must create a new account with ReadyPhiladelphia in the coming weeks to continue receiving alerts.

If you do not do so by July 31, 2015, you will not receive important information that is valuable to you.

We ask that you please register at and click on “Sign Up For Alerts”. There you will have options to sign up for any or all of email, text, voice call or a mobile app with push notifications.

With ReadyPhiladelphia, you can sign up to get alerts about disasters, local emergencies, weather issues, and other important information. Some alerts may include evacuations and shelter in place instructions, and the locations of emergency evacuation shelters for the public.

We can send alerts to multiple devices: your home, business phone, smartphones and other mobile devices.  

You will be able to get notifications for up to five addresses, such as home, work, and schools in Philadelphia that are important locations to you.

The time to prepare for an emergency is not in the middle of one. In an emergency, you’re either ready or not.

Enrolling in ReadyPhiladelphia is an important step that takes minutes.

If you were not a customer of ReadyNotifyPA, we love seeing new names. Please go to and click “Sign Up For Alerts” as well.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Philadelphia: City of Neighborhoods and Neighbors Looking Out for One Another


By Jeffrey Kolakowski  July 8, 2015 @PhilaOEM

Last night, Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management staff attended an event held by FEMA regarding new flood hazard maps released by the federal agency.

Residents of the city who live in flood prone areas showed up to South Philadelphia High School to learn about how their insurance would be affected, learn more about their flood risk and view updates shown on the preliminary maps.

OEM staff had a table set up at the event where we provided information on everything from evacuation routes to pet and personal preparation for an emergency as well as explaining the revamped ReadyPhiladelphia alert system.

The trait that impressed OEM the most was the caring for neighbors exhibited by those who attended the event. Many block captains visited our table to pick up information and resources to give out to those who could not attend. Many of these people came to the event just for that information as they were not directly affected by an increase in insurance rate.

We were also impressed that every person we spoke to was signed up for ReadyPhiladelphia alerts, whether by email, text or phone.

Being raised here, I know Philadelphia is a “City of Neighborhoods”. Although some neighborhoods have changed names and faces, it was great to see a “constant” with which I grew up: neighbors looking out for one another.

If you would like to sign up for ReadyPhiladelphia alerts, which inform you of weather issues or emergency information you need to be aware of, go to

Information regarding emergency preparedness, evacuation routes and preparedness workshops is also available on that same site.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Independence Day Weekend BBQing: Don't Leave Your Guests with a Bad Feeling in Their Stomach

July 4th Weekend Means Millions of Americans Grilling

Advice to not leave you BBQ guests “illing”.

By Jeffrey D. Kolakowski July 3, 2015  @PhilaOEM

Being considered a “grill master” is a source of pride. Poor grilling can be a source of sickness.

According to the City of Philadelphia Health Department website, roughly one in six Americans, around 48 million people, get sick from food poisoning each year. CDC numbers also say that 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.

Food poisoning can be contracted by anyone who eats contaminated food which contains viruses, bacteria or other unfavorable ingredients. There is a high risk group, like older adults, pregnant women and those with weaker immune system, who may be more prone to becoming ill and may see more severe reactions to food poisoning.
Since bacteria is not visible to the human eye, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says the best way to ensure good grilling is to check the internal temperature.

The USDA came up with the acronym PRO to remind grillers of three easy steps to make sure your guests are doubled over in laughter from having a good time rather than doubled over in pain.

Information below from the USDA website

P—Place the Thermometer!
Think your food is ready? Make sure by checking the internal temperature. Find the thickest part of the meat (usually about 1.5 to 2 inches deep), and insert the thermometer. If you’re cooking a thinner piece of meat, like chicken breasts or hamburger patties, insert the thermometer from the side.  Make sure that the probe reaches the center of the meat.

R—Read the Temperature!
Wait about 10 to 20 seconds for an accurate temperature reading.  Use the following safe internal temperature guidelines for your meat and poultry.
·        Beef, Pork, Lamb, & Veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145 °F with a 3-minute rest time
·        Ground meats: 160 °F
·        Whole poultry, poultry breasts, & ground poultry: 165 °F 

O—Off the Grill!
Once the meat and poultry reach their safe minimum internal temperatures, take the food off the grill and place it on a clean platter.  Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry.  Also remember to clean your food thermometer probe with hot, soapy water or disposable wipes.

For more information about food poisoning, visit:

To sign up for ReadyPhiladelphia text or email alerts from the Office of Emergency Management, visit

Coming to Philadelphia for the 4th? Come Prepared With a Plan and Know Where You Are in a Crowd

Philadelphia’s Welcome America Finale To Draw Massive Crowds to the Parkway.

New visual grid system will help visitors know where they are.

By Jeffrey D. Kolakowski @PhilaOEM July 3, 2015

Photo: Annie Cipiti/OEM                                                           

Thousands of visitors will travel to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this Saturday for the daylong Party on the Parkway, Philly 4th of July Jam and fireworks. This year, the "Largest Free Concert in America" features The Roots, with specials guests Miguel and Jennifer Nettles.

The finale to eight days of Philadelphia's Welcome America events has visitors planning who they're going with, how to travel and what to eat. 

But are they truly prepared?

A plan that includes emergency meet-up locations and having an awareness for where you are is important.

collaborative effort between the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management, Police, and Fire departments developed a system to help people figure out where they are if help is needed or just to tell someone where to meet up.

Previously, event-goers would describe to friends, family or emergency dispatchers where they were by relying on landmarks, street signs and other visual cues. This proved difficult for callers who were unfamiliar with their surroundings and first-responders dealing with a massive crowd.

To fix this, new reflective metal signs were placed along the Parkway for the July 4th concert on poles by city Streets Department workers from the concert stage, eastbound to 20th street.

The 30 X 30 inch signs contain letters and a number. The letters start alphabetically at the stage and ascend in order towards 20th street. Numbers are odd on the north side of the Parkway and even on the south side.

If someone should need emergency assistance, they dial 911 and the dispatcher will ask them for the nearest grid location.

The system proved successful as a pilot program in 2014 when it was used for July 4th, Made In America and the Philadelphia Marathon.

It is planned to be used for major upcoming events this year which include Made In America and Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia this year.

The Office of Emergency Management also has a redesigned emergency alert system where people can receive texts and emails if there should be a weather situation or incident they need be aware of. To sign up, visit