The PSEC Disaster Coordinator, Rev. Karl Jones Jr., has several valuable resources to share with conferences churches and leaders. Please check out these recommended resources:
Learn how to help in emergencies
Life-threatening emergencies can happen fast. Emergency responders aren’t always nearby. You may be able to save a life by taking simple actions immediately. Click here to learn how you can help by taking time for yourself or by teaching your community life saving skills until help arrives: You Are the Help Until Help Arrives.
Free Mobile App to Help Develop Your Safety and Security Plan
Department of Justice National Institute Justice (in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and subject matter experts from the faith community and law enforcement) have created a free mobile app that will help local law enforcement work with leaders of houses of worship to evaluate their facilities and create plans for preventing attacks and prepare for other catastrophic events. To access this FREE app, faith leaders and community influencers can visit: https://www.justnet.org/resources/Houses_of_Worship.html
Grant for Church Security Systems
There is a federal grant that can help pay for security systems for churches. However, for this grant the churches need to be in Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, Delaware Counties, or Philadelphia. There’s an in-person meeting on Jan. 19 for anyone who wants to learn more at the PennDOT District Office, 7000 Geerdes Boulevard, King of Prussia, PA, 19406. There’s also a webinar in case you cannot attend the January workshop. For details go to http://www.pema.pa.gov/about/Pages/Nonprofit-Security-Grant-Program-.aspx#.WjO-mvmnGUk
PA Emergency Newsletter
This resource from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency gives tips on winter safety, heating assistance, staying warm, and more. Read that newsletter here: ReadyPA Monthly January 2018.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Crisis and regular LIHEAP applications began Nov. 1 and end April 6.
LIHEAP provides assistance for home heating bills to keep low-income Pennsylvanians warm and safe during the winter months. The program is available to both renters and homeowners. The support comes in the form of a grant, so the individual does not have to repay assistance, and funds go directly to their utility company or home heating fuel provider.
Winter Preparedness Tips
Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous. Stay safe and healthy by planning ahead. Prepare your home, your cars and your church. Prepare for power outages and outdoor activity. Check on older adults. Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival. If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.
- Winterize your home.
- Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows.
- Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls.
- Clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.
- Check your heating systems.
- Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys.
- Install a smoke detector. Test batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
- Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.
- Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas.
- Check batteries when you change your clocks in the fall and spring. Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies. Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
- Get your car ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.
- Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level; check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires.
- Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
- Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
- Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. The kit should include: ▪ cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries; blankets; food and water; booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction); compass and maps; flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries; first-aid kit; and ▪ plastic bags (for sanitation).
- Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages.
- Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
- Ensure that your cell phone is fully charged.
- When planning travel, be aware of current and forecast weather conditions.
- Keep an up-to-date emergency kit.
- Protect your family from carbon monoxide.
- Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
- Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house.
- Leave your home immediately if the CO detector sounds, and call 911.
- Many people spend time outdoors in the winter working, traveling, or enjoying winter sports. Outdoor activities can expose you to several safety hazards, but you can take these steps to prepare for them:
- Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: wear a tightly woven, preferably wind-resistant coat or jacket; inner layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
- Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
- Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.
- Work slowly when doing outside chores.
- Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
- Carry a cell phone.