National Emergency Preparedness Month Urges Delawareans to Think Ahead

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month

 SMYRNA, Del. – Today, Governor Jack Markell and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, joined emergency management leaders from Delaware to urge Delawareans to make sure their homes, businesses and loved ones are prepared for an emergency, as a part of National Emergency Preparedness Month.

Delaware has witnessed two major weather events in the last two years, Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy, and being prepared for another emergency event can make all the difference. But not all emergencies in our region are weather related, which is why it is important to have a plan for any sort of event.

“Effective disaster preparedness and response isn’t only about a couple of agencies, or one level of government. It is a coordinated effort,” said Governor Jack Markell. “We partner with federal officials, counties, cities and towns, fire companies, civil air patrol and weather experts to develop our state emergency plans.  Part of what we’re asking Delawareans is to figure out a family emergency plan, so everyone can be better prepared.”fDSCF1490

“I am so thankful to the men and women who risk their lives to respond when emergencies happen,” said Sen. Carper. “As Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in the Senate, I urge Delawareans and all Americans to be prepared and resilient to avoid the impact of disasters as much as possible.” 

“We are very fortunate in Delaware to have an incredible group of first responders who truly represent the finest emergency personnel in the country,” said Delaware Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security Lewis D. Schiliro. “Their job is also made easier through the preparations of our citizens and the fact that Delaware is a state where neighbors look after neighbors.” 

The Red Cross provides the following information for preparing your family, home, business and employees for an emergency:

Get a Kit. Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of an emergency or disaster. Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.

Make a Plan. It is important to make sure that the entire family is prepared and informed in the event of a disaster or emergency. You may not always be together when these events take place and should have plans for making sure you are able to contact and find one another.

Be Informed. Learn the types of disasters or emergencies that may likely occur in your area. These events can range from those affecting only you and your family, like a home fire or medical emergency, to those affecting your entire community, like an earthquake or flood.

Having a game plan in place is essential for all households so everyone knows what they should do when an emergency occurs,” said Patrick Delaney, Regional Executive, American Red Cross Delmarva Region. “National Preparedness Month is a perfect time to create or update your plan.  For a complete guide to building an emergency supply kit and other helpful tips, please visit”

Delawareans can visit for information about developing a disaster preparedness plan.

Emergency Sirens To Be Tested

(Smyrna) – The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and Delaware State Police will conduct a quarterly test of the Salem/Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations Alert and notification system on Tuesday, July 9, 2013.  Sirens will sound between 7:00PM and 9:00PM.

The 37 sirens located within ten miles of the Salem/Hope Creek (New Jersey) plants will be activated for three to five minutes.  The siren tests will be followed by a test message of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on local radio stations.

Sirens that will be tested are the same sirens that would alert the public in the event of an actual emergency at either the Salem or Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations.  In such an emergency, the public would be alerted by the sirens to tune radios to one of the local EAS stations for important emergency instructions.


June 1st Marks the Beginning of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Wilmington, DE, May 31, 2013 — Saturday, June 1, 2013 will mark the beginning of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season.  Last October, the Delmarva Peninsula witnessed the effects of a powerful storm firsthand when Superstorm Sandy came up the Eastern Seaboard and made landfall in our area on October 29, 2012.

The American Red Cross wants the entire community to be prepared for any and all storms that may threaten this year and urges families to take steps now to ensure their safety.  There are three actions everyone can take to prepare for a disaster such as a hurricane:

Get a Kit

Build a kit of emergency supplies and store them in a container that you can take with you should you need to evacuate.  For a complete list of suggested items, visit

Make a Plan

Identify two meeting places for your family members should a disaster occur.  Assign a place right outside your home and assign a second meeting place outside of your neighborhood in the event you need to evacuate.

Be Informed

Become aware of the various disasters or emergencies that may occur in your area.  In the event of a summer storm, tropical storm, hurricane or other weather-related disasters, listen to weather advisories and follow the instructions of local authorities.

“Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane.  We encourage everyone to get trained and learn how to prepare your families, your employees, your neighbors, and yourselves.  Knowing what to do in the face of an emergency can make a world of difference.” –Patrick Delaney, Regional Executive, American Red Cross Delmarva Region

Governor Markell also urges residents to prepare.  “We have learned that hurricane threats in Delaware can be very real,” said Governor Jack Markell.  “The best we can do is to prepare as much as possible.   The Red Cross is a valuable resource ready and willing to help families plan in advance, which increases everyone’s chances of staying safe in a storm.

“Take care of your neighbors.  Before and after the storm, look in on neighbors, especially the elderly or homebound in your community,” said Jamie Turner, Director, Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA).

“Last year, Hurricane Sandy provided us all with a stark reminder of the importance of preparing for natural disasters. As we quickly come upon hurricane season this year, it is vital that all Delawareans know the threats associated with living in a coastal state and understand how to keep their families and homes safe in the event of a hurricane,” said Sen. Carper. “A little bit of prevention can go a long way toward avoiding serious damage to homes or property and can even save the lives of our loved ones. I hope all Delawareans will use the resources provided by the Red Cross and take the time to create a plan and prepare for hurricane season.”

“It is most important that our citizens make time now to prepare their families and businesses for the unexpected. Preparation and keeping well informed is the key to providing for the safety of our families and neighbors during weather events,” Delaware Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Lewis D. Schiliro said.


(Smyrna, DE) – The annual Delaware Preparedness Night at the Wilmington Blue Rocks, will be held on Friday, May 31, 2013.  The Wilmington, New Castle County, and Delaware Citizen Corps will sponsor the event at Frawley Stadium on the Wilmington Riverfront, along with partners, Delaware Chapter of the American Red Cross, Division of Public Health Preparedness Section, and the Delaware Medical Reserve Corps.

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness about emergency preparedness for natural and man-made emergencies.  Sponsors and partners will have display tables at various locations in the stadium, and preparedness messages and questions will be displayed on the scoreboard and one lucky winner per inning will be chosen to receive a Disaster Kit.  The evening is a family event.  Game time against the Frederick (MD) Keys is 7:05pm, with fireworks after the game.

The Delaware Citizen Corps is a program under the Delaware Department of Safety & Homeland Security, and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency.

For more information on Delaware Citizen Corps, contact Marny McLee and Robert George at 302-659-2243.


National Hurricane Preparedness Week Starts May 26

(Smyrna) – While many across the county will take time to remember past heroes over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, emergency management officials will also note the beginning of National Hurricane Preparedness Week, which runs from May 26 through to June 1 2013.  June 1 is also the official start date of Atlantic Hurricane season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a 70% likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms during the six month hurricane season.  These storms would contain winds of 39 MPH or higher.  NOAA further predicts that 7 to 11 of the storms reach hurricane intensity, with winds in excess of 74 MPH, and 3 to 6 could become Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricanes, which contain winds over 111 MPH.  Officials at NOAA point out that the ranges are above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.  The prediction from NOAA does not predict how many of the storms could affect the mid-Atlantic region.

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) encourages Delaware residents and visitors to be personally prepared for the possibility of a tropical storm or hurricane affecting the state sometime during hurricane season (June 1-November 30).  While some residents of nearby states are still dealing with the impacts from Tropical Storm “Sandy”, which hit the area in late October 2012, those in Delaware remember that the state was spared a major impact from “Sandy” and Tropical Storm “Irene” in 2011.  While Delaware was fortunate to be out of the critical impact areas from those storms, officials warn that residents should not be lulled into letting down their guard.

Delaware residents are urged to know their risk from hurricanes, take action, and be examples for family and friends.  National Hurricane Preparedness Week provides an opportunity for people to take action now to respond to the possibility of a tropical storm or hurricane sometime during the year.

Actions to be taken now include making an emergency evacuation plan and knowing evacuation routes, preparing an emergency kit or making sure an existing kit is up to date, and inventorying and copying important documents and making sure valuables are secured in a safe place.

Essential to every household is an Emergency Supply Kit.  This is a collection of basic items that should be readily available in the event of an emergency of any nature.  Basic items to have in an Emergency Supply Kit include:

  • WATER – One gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days (4 person household = 12 gallons), for drinking and sanitation.  If a storm is anticipated, fill a bathtub to provide water for sanitation purposes (refilling toilet tanks).
  • FOOD – A supply of non-perishable food for three days.  Take into account that cooking might not be possible.  Make sure you have sufficient food for pets, as well.  And very importantly, a manual can opener is needed in the event power is lost.
  • RADIO – A battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, and a NOAA weather radio with a tone alert.  Make sure to have extra batteries.
  • LIGHTING – A flashlight with extra batteries at the least.  Battery-operated lanterns can also provide safe indoor light.  Battery-operated, flameless “candles” can also provide illumination.  Solar-powered lawn lights can be recharged during the day by placing them outside (when there is sunlight), and brought inside after dark to provide safe, renewable light.  Avoid regular candles and other open flames.
  • FIRST AID KIT – You should also make sure that medications are current and there are sufficient amounts, especially prescription medications, to last three days.
  • WHISTLE – Allows you to signal for help.
  • DUST MASK – Certain events could put large amounts of dust and other contaminants in the air.
  • PLASTIC SHEETING & DUCT TAPE – Certain events might result in emergency officials advising residents to shelter in place.  These items can help prevent damage to the residence.
    • PERSONAL SANITATION – Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties.
    • TOOLS – You may be instructed to turn off utilities such as gas or water.  A wrench or pliers can help do the job.
    • EVACUATION SUPPLIES – An evacuation plan should be made well in advance, but it is a good idea to have maps available if you are not familiar with the area.
    • COMMUNICATIONS – In an emergency, electrical power could be lost for days.  A car charger, inverter or solar charger can keep a cell phone working.  If the household has only cordless phones, keep a “corded” phone on hand – if the power is out, the cordless phone will not work, but a corded phone could be plugged in, providing phone service.  Keep calls to a minimum, but to conserve power and to keep phone lines from becoming clogged.
    • GENERATORS – Generators should never be used in enclosed spaces, including garages, or near doors or windows.  Plenty of ventilation is needed to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.  Gasoline and other fuels need to be stored outside as well.  Generators should be tested and care used when re-fueling.

Preparation is important.  Residents should know whether their land is flood-prone, and if any nearby dams or levees pose a risk.  Make plans to secure your property.

Permanent storm shutters provide the best protection for windows, but 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install is an alternative.  It should be prepared in advance and stored, as in-stock plywood might be hard to find in stores when a storm is imminent.

Trim trees and shrubs near your home to prevent damage.  If trees or branches pose a threat to power lines, contact the utility – homeowners should not attempt to remove them because of the risk of electrocution.  Clear rain gutters and downspouts.

More information on how to prepare can be found at  DEMA has also prepared a Delaware Hurricane Evacuation Guide.  It can be obtained in printed form, or viewed as a pdf file at