HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett tonight said that the state is now in the rescue phase of the developing flooding disaster, and assured residents of central and eastern Pennsylvania that all state agencies, including State Police, the National Guard and the governor's Cabinet are fully focused on this situation.
Earlier today, the governor held a call with the state's congressional delegation as well as the state's legislative leaders during which he was assured the state's federal officials stand ready to intervene on our behalf in Washington as needed.
"The Pennsylvania National Guard now has more than 1,200 men and women on flood rescue duty. They have evacuated 60 people by ground and have rescued 76 people and six dogs by air,'' Corbett said during a media briefing at Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Harrisburg tonight.
Corbett reminded residents the water has yet to crest in all areas.
"A total of ten water and sewage treatment plants have failed, which means the water in the streets is toxic. Unless you are being rescued, please keep out of the water,'' Corbett warned.
"Additionally, if you don't have to drive, please don't. If you must drive and encounter water, stop and turn around. It only takes six inches of rushing water to knock a person down and carry him away. High ground is safe ground," Corbett said.
Hundreds of roads across the state have been closed because of flooding, mudslides and rockslides, as well as stranding motorists and residents. Specific information about major state road closures is available by calling 511 or by www.511pa.com.
In addition to driving cautiously, motorists should also expect delays and allow extra time in their travel schedules.
When it's raining or when roads are wet, motorists should also turn on their headlights and increase the following distance between vehicles. Pennsylvania law dictates that headlights must be turned on any time a vehicle's wipers are on.
Residents are encouraged to visit www.ReadyPA.org - a state resource that encourages citizens to take three basic steps before an emergency or natural disaster:
- Be Informed: know what threats Pennsylvania and your community face.
- Be Prepared: have an emergency kit with at least three days' worth of essentials at your home, including food, one gallon of water per person per day, medications and specialized items such as baby or pet supplies. Create an emergency plan so family members know where to meet if everyone is separated when an incident occurs.
- Be Involved: Pennsylvanians have a long history of helping one another in times of need. Specialized training and volunteer opportunities are available so citizens can help others in their community in a disaster.
Information such as checklists for emergency kits and templates for emergency plans, as well as other information and volunteer opportunities, is available at www.ReadyPA.org or by calling 1-888-9-READYPA (1-888-973-2397).
Cory Angell or Ruth A. Miller, PEMA; 717-651-2009
Kelli Roberts, Governor’s Office; 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor