State emergency management officials push for emergency preparedness

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HARRISBURG, Pa. --- Record rainfall has plagued central Pennsylvania this year, flooding rivers, creeks, streets and homes.

In light of that and potential weather ahead, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) officials say it’s never too early to start preparing for the next problem.

Molly Dougherty, PEMA director for external affairs, said ensuring access to credible weather information and back-up sources of power, should yours go out, can go a long way if you’re on you’re own.

“When there is something that happens and it’s unexpected, the first responders are going to be responding to the different events that are happening throughout the community. They may not be able to get to you,” said Dougherty.

Fritzi Schreffler with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said getting an emergency kit that includes snacks, water and other items in the car can help in the event you get stuck.

More importantly, she said to make sure the routes to and from home are safe.

Road across Pennsylvania have suffered serious damage from the rains, so far.

While they may not be closed for flooding, Schreffler said they can remain closed for construction.

If a road is marked closed, Schreffler said it's not out of precaution but necessity.

Checking your safest route to and from home in some places will be needed, she said, for the next few weeks or even months.

“It’s a matter of what can we do now that won’t get washed away but we’re also looking ahead to winter and how can we get these roads repaired or in some kind of shape to travel and then we’re going to get that compounded with snow,” said Schreffler.

As Hurricane Florences continues to barrel towards the east coast, it is unclear what kind of impact it could have on Pennsylvania.

Ruth Miller, communications director for PEMA, said no matter what happens, now is the time to get ready for the unknown.

“Whether it’s the impact of a hurricane, a snowstorm, an accident somewhere that knocks out your power for a few hours, this is a really opportune time for people to step back and say “What would I do if I didn’t have electricity in my home for three days?” “Where would I go if I needed to evacuate?” said Miller.

PEMA is offering to sent a list of items for preparedness four time a month as part of their "30 Ways/30 Days" program.

PennDOT encourages travelers to use "511PA" that updates the current traffic patterns or any closures.

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