Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency urges everyone to "Resolve to be Ready" in 2011 by creating emergency kits and developing family emergency plans.

"Disasters and emergencies often strike without warning, so it is essential to prepare and make plans for dealing with them," said PEMA Director Robert P. French. "Knowing what to do in an emergency can help keep loved ones safe and calm when the time comes."

The state's ReadyPA campaign encourages residents to Be Informed, Be Prepared, and Be Involved.

Citizens should "be informed" by learning about types of disasters that could occur in their communities. Major interstates, large rivers and industrial facilities are features that present the opportunity for unique emergency situations.

The next step, "Be Prepared," guides everyone to create emergency kits for their home, car and place of work. In addition to the basics such as non-perishable foods and water, be sure to include medications and any special supplies for children and pets.

Families should also create an emergency plan so everyone knows how they will communicate and where they should meet if a disaster occurs while they're separated.

"The emergency kit and plan are among the most important elements of emergency preparedness," said French. "Families should be able to survive without outside assistance for at least three days after an emergency has passed; and the confusion of an emergency is not the time to figure out where family members are and where and how you can reconnect with them."

In addition to taking steps to prepare for your own safety, citizens are encouraged to "be involved" by becoming active participants in preparing their community and helping others.

There are many ways to volunteer to ensure that communities are safer, stronger and better prepared to react to a variety of emergencies. State, federal and local training programs are available and allow citizens to become involved in a variety of ways based on their interests.

More detailed information on how the public can "Be Informed, Be Prepared, Be Involved," including downloadable emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, is available online at www.ReadyPA.org, or by calling 1-888-9-READY-PA.