Resources You Can Use

The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and extends into the fall.  There are things you can do today to be better prepared for when the worst happens. Understand your risk from hurricanes and begin pre-season preparations now. Make sure you understand how to interpret forecasts and alerts, and know what to do before, during, and after a storm.  Learn more.

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As climate change continues to impact disaster frequency and intensity, the National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) explored disaster resilience bills enacted by state legislatures in 2023. This report analyzes over 600 bills enacted across all 50 states. Inspired by FEMA’s Community Lifelines, the bill categories included Funding, Energy, Communications, Transportation, Safety & Security, Health & Medical, Food & Water, Housing, Hazardous Materials, Land Use, Governance, and Equity. Funding, Governance, and Safety & Security emerged as the most common legislative issues, relating to 55, 37, and 27 percent of disaster bills, respectively. California and Texas led the nation with 61 and 39 bills, respectively. Colorado, Oregon, and Florida were nearly as active, with 32, 29, and 29 bills. Learn more.

Planning to power Up your Important life-enabling devices.

Do you use battery-operated communication devices, hearing aids, or mobility equipment? Do you have respiratory devices like a suction or CPAP machine? Does your medication or nutritional formula require refrigeration? Start thinking about all the ways you rely on access to electricity. Click here for important information on Addressing Power Needs in Your Emergency Plan.

Resources from the IRS about Preparedness Plans

The IRS has prepared a short video on Preparing for Disaster:   English | Spanish |ASL |Chinese | Vietnamese | Korean | Haitian Creole | Russian.

The IRS also reminds us that emergency preparedness plans should include copies of vital records and financial information.  Here are some things everyone can do to help protect their financial records.

Update emergency preparedness plan annually

Personal and business situations are constantly evolving, so taxpayers should review their emergency preparedness plan annually. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov website has resources and checklists to help people put together their emergency preparedness plan.

Create electronic copies of documents
Taxpayers should keep important documents in a safe place. This includes bank statements, tax returns and insurance policies. This is especially easy now since many financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically. If original documents are available only on paper, taxpayers can use a scanner and save them on a USB flash drive or in the cloud.

Document valuables
Documenting valuables by taking pictures or videoing them before disaster strikes makes it easier to claim insurance and tax benefits. IRS.gov has a disaster loss workbook that can help taxpayers compile a room-by-room list of belongings.

Tax relief available for disaster situations
Information on Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses is available at IRS.gov. Taxpayers should also review Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters and Thefts.

Taxpayers who live in a federally declared disaster area can visit Around the Nation on IRS.gov and click on their state to review the available disaster tax relief. Those who live in counties qualifying for disaster relief receive automatic filing and payment postponements for many currently due tax returns and don’t need to contact the agency to get relief.

            Learn more.

Disability Rights PA “Rights of People with Disabilities in an Emergency” fact sheets

  1. Evacuation Plan Inclusion and Accessibility; 2) Effective Notification and Communication for People with Disabilities; 3) Access to Shelter and Temporary Housing; and 4) Access to Healthcare, Social Services, and Recovery Services

Click here for the DHS webpage.

The PA Department of Human Services has a new website for Mass Care. You can read about the Task Forces and other resources available to support mass care needs in the Commonwealth at www.dhs.pa.gov/MassCare.

INSURANCE RESOURCES

United Policy Holders has these resources:

Do you need up-to-date travel information?

Do you know that you can get information on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting 511PA.  511PA is free and available 24 hours a day; it provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.

Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

 The PA Department of Human Services encourages all Pennsylvanians with low incomes to enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a federal program that helps people pay for broadband service and internet-connected devices necessary to maintain reliable internet access in their homes.  Visit AffordableConnectivity.gov to apply or print out and mail in a completed application.

Implicit Bias

The Office of Health Equity in the PA Department of Health has developed an Implicit Bias Toolkit. This is toolkit, which is intended for those working in healthcare settings, can provide a lot of great resources and information surrounding the reduction of implicit and explicit bias in our work as well. You can find the toolkit at Implicit Bias Toolkit. Other useful resources can be found online to help you consider the manifestation and impact of biases in our daily lives. One example is Harvard University’s Project Implicit.

AARP PREPAREDNESS RESOURCE CENTER

To help people and communities prepare for potential weather disasters, AARP has launched a PREPAREDNESS Resource Center at aarp.org/disasterprep, where you can find information on

  • Emergency repose information tailored to older adults;
  • A list of everything that should be packed in a emergency escape kit;
  • Apps and gadgets that can help keep you safe in a disaster;
  • Details on staying in communication with state and local authorities;
  • How to keep you pets safe in a disaster.

SENIOR FOOD BOX PROGRAM

The Senior Food Box Program supplements low-income seniors’ diets with nutritious food, including non-fat dry and shelf-stable fluid milk, juice, oats, ready-to-eat cereal, rice, pasta, dry beans, peanut butter, canned meat, poultry, fish and canned fruits and vegetables. To participate, individuals must be at least 60 years old and meet income eligibility guidelines. A single senior’s annual income may not exceed $18,954, and the income for a couple is capped at $25,636. Seniors who would like to participate should call ☎️800-468-2433 to be directed to the regional food bank distributing the Senior Food Box in their county of residence. Learn more here.