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 7, 2015.  The sirens will sound between 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM.

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.

Delaware Update on Ebola Prevention and Preparation

Dover, DE – Joined by the State’s top health officials, along with infectious disease and emergency response experts, Governor Markell today provided an update on ongoing statewide efforts in response to the Ebola virus epidemic.Ebola Media Briefing

“We are facing an unprecedented situation with the Ebola virus, making prevention and preparation efforts vital,” said Governor Markell. “While the risk of transmission in Delaware is low, the State has been preparing for the potential of any Ebola cases for months to ensure we are in the best possible position to keep the public safe.”

While there are no cases in Delaware and the risk of transmission is low, the Division of Public Health (DPH) in the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is working to ensure the appropriate screening tools and disease prevention strategies are used to further reduce any chance of transmission. These tools and strategies are based on the best currently available science, which tells us that Ebola virus is only transmitted by infected patients who have symptoms. The risk of getting the disease through normal, everyday contact is extremely low.

DPH is working closely with hospitals, medical providers, EMS companies, and many other partners to prepare, coordinate care, and provide advice and guidance. Issues being addressed by this group include how to screen for the disease, safe ambulance transportation of potential Ebola patients, personal protective equipment guidance and availability, hospital readiness, infectious disease monitoring, and protocols for any doctor’s office that might see a case.

“Delaware’s hospitals know that the best way to address Ebola is to prevent its spread. The Division’s approach to doing that is sound, science-based, and will help protect both Delawareans and the health care professionals who care for them,” said Wayne Smith, President and CEO of the Delaware Healthcare Association.

In addition, the Governor has directed engagement from all cabinet-level agencies to ensure statewide efforts are coordinated and comprehensive.

“If a case is confirmed in Delaware, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rapid response team would be on the ground to assist us,” said Secretary Rita Landgraf. “They would support the Division of Public Health to trace any potential contacts who might need to be monitored, have activity restrictions or, although unlikely, be quarantined. The CDC also would work with the State and the hospitals to determine if the ill patient should be moved out of state for treatment.”

In coordination with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), DPH is receiving notice of all travelers from the three West African countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

DPH is in daily contact with those persons to check their status and health, and will remain in daily contact throughout the 21-day period following their last potential Ebola exposure. If anyone shows symptoms of illness or a fever, they will be taken to the closest hospital for evaluation, and, if needed, isolation and testing. Currently there are 11 individuals in Delaware who are considered low risk that are being monitored. Eight live in New Castle County and three live in Kent County. “Low risk” is defined as having no known direct contact with a person infected with the Ebola virus.

Delaware is also designating “high risk” and “some risk” categories for those who have had direct contact with a person or people symptomatic with the Ebola virus. (See attached) These individuals will receive direct active monitoring for the 21-day incubation period by Division of Public Health staff, including daily visits. “High risk” individuals must also be quarantined at home and “some risk” individuals must limit their activities, including avoiding public transportation and large gatherings, and seeking approval from DPH to travel.

DHSS urges people not to make assumptions that someone might be infected based on their accent, background or skin color, and it is important to remember how hard the disease is to transmit.

If you wish to discuss a suspected case, you may contact DPH 24/7 at 888-295-5156, including weekends and holidays. If you have general questions, the CDC has a 24/7 line available for information on the Ebola virus at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

Photos from Ebola Briefing

Video from Ebola Briefing

Ebola Monitoring Fact Sheet

For further Ebola information and resources visit the Delaware Public Health homepage.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit here.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.

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Governor Signs Bill to Accelerate, Enhance School Safety Efforts

Includes additional activities for schools to prepare for emergencies

Dover, DE – Building on his 2013 pledge that all Delaware schools would have a “state-of-the-art school safety plan” by the end of 2014, Governor Markell today signed legislation that requires schools to have a comprehensive and up-to-date plan by this month.HB340

House Bill 340 amends the Omnibus School Safety Act that Markell signed in 2012, which initially said schools and districts must, by September 2017, be in compliance with the Act’s provisions regarding preparation for potential emergency situations, ranging from armed intruders to natural disasters.

In his 2013 State of the State address, Markell said the initial five-year timetable in the Act was “a laudable goal, but we can do better.” Since then, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS) has worked with districts to speed up their work and, currently, 78 percent of schools are ahead of schedule and have compliant plans.

“We have no more important obligation as a state than to ensure a safe environment in the places where our students learn,” said Markell, who signed the bill at Caesar Rodney School District’s W. Reily Brown Elementary School, where he was joined by state legislators along with school and district officials.

“This bill marks another important step in our never-ending process to ensure schools are as prepared as possible to protect their students and staff in any contingency. It has been impressive and gratifying to see the hard work by administrators and faculty throughout our state to make the two year timeframe possible and update all of their safety plans to the maximum extent.”

Plans must be thorough, coordinated with first responders, tailored to the layout and location of each facility, and compliant with the National Incident Management System, a framework for emergency response developed by the federal government that stresses collaboration with first responders.

“As a father with two boys who went to public school, there’s nothing more important than making sure they get a high-quality education in a safe and secure environment,” said the bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Darryl Scott, D-Dover. “This bill accelerates our efforts to ensure each and every school across the state has a school safety plan in place and that our teachers, administrators and emergency responders review and practice those plans regularly.”

In addition to completing the process of accelerating the development of school safety plans, HB 340 provides for school districts to conduct table top exercises annually and at least two lockdown/intruder drills per school year. They must submit verification of the exercises to DSHS.

“The Delaware public and charter school community have fully committed to providing their students with the most comprehensive and complete safety plans in the country,” said Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Lewis D. Schiliro. “The progress we’ve made is indeed a tribute to the dedication and perseverance of our teachers, administrators, school personnel and our public safety partners.  As a parent and grandparent, we should all be thankful for what they have accomplished.”HB340

Tabletop exercises allow school officials to work through their plans to identify any possible gaps and make adjustments, and intruder drills allow school faculty, staff, and administrators, as well as students, to become more familiar with procedures and expectations so the response becomes second nature.

“We are pleased W. Reily Brown Elementary School was selected as the site for the signing of HB340,” said Caesar Rodney School District Superintendent Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald.  “We are fortunate that Governor Markell, the state legislature and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security have made the safety of our students their number one priority in Delaware.  We look forward to continuing our relationship with Homeland Security, local law enforcement agencies and fire companies to ensure all of our schools have up-to-date school safety plans and conduct exercises to validate our plans.”

Photos from the event

Safety Tips for the 2014 Hurricane Season

Hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30

WILMINGTON, Del. Today, Delaware Governor Jack Markell and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper joined the American Red Cross, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the Delaware Department of Homeland Security to urge Delawareans to prepare themselves, their families, and their businesses for the 2014 hurricane storm season. The Atlantic and Caribbean Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November 30.

 “Hurricanes have resulted in real damage to homes and businesses across the state in recent years, but we’ve also limited the damage because of the support we have received from the public in prevention and response efforts” said Governor Jack Markell.  “Our best defense is to be well prepared before any storm arrives and we all have a role to play. Keeping our communities as safe as possible requires advanced coordination and cooperation among state government, the general public and organizations like the Red Cross.”

“If the superstorms of the last several years have taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for everything,” said Sen. Carper, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. “Now is the time to protect your homes, businesses and property from severe weather.”

“Being prepared and staying well informed through local media and DEMA’s web site is most important in keeping our families and neighbors safe during severe weather events. Our citizens must prepare now for this year’s hurricane season so that they know what to do before, during and after a hurricane strikes,” said Delaware Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Lewis D. Schiliro.

 A 2013 survey by the American Red Cross and The Weather Channel found that few Americans living in coastal counties have taken necessary action to prepare for severe tropical storms and hurricanes. Only about half of those surveyed have an evacuation plan or a plan for communicating with family members if they are separated. Nearly a third of people did not have an emergency kit with supplies.

 “The importance of maintaining and sustaining your knowledge of your community, hazards, home, neighbors, your planning efforts, and maintaining and sustaining knowledge of storm impacts are the primary areas of consideration that will assist you in making decisions to preserve your personal safety and that of your family and your neighbors, said Jamie Turner, director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. “Have a plan, have a kit; exercise and update both on an annual basis.”

 “Preparedness is critical when it comes to life-threatening disasters such as hurricanes,” said Patrick Delaney, CEO, American Red Cross Delmarva Region. “It’s important families and individuals make time to build an emergency kit, create an evacuation plan, and download the Red Cross Hurricane App to help make it through the next storm safely.”

 Even communities far inland from the coast can experience hurricanes depending on the course of the storm, often with the threat of powerful winds and widespread flooding. In addition, strong rip currents even at large distances from the storm can threaten those at the beach many miles away.


Hurricanes are powerful and dangerous storms. They can bring heavy rains that cause major flooding, destructive winds that down power lines, uproot trees and damage homes, and storm surges that travel several miles inland destroying everything in its path.

As hurricane season approaches, it is important to know the difference between the threat levels.

  •  A Hurricane Watch is when conditions are a threat within 48 hours. It’s then time to review your hurricane plans. Get ready to act if a warning is issued, and stay informed.
  •  A Hurricane Warning is when conditions are expected within 36 hours. It’s then time to complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.

Now is the time for families and individual to build an emergency kit and create an evacuation plan.  For more information, go to http://www.ready.gov/american-red-cross or www.dema.delaware.gov.

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, April 8, 2014.  Sirens will sound between 5:00pm 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.