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Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Port in the storm: Resources for surviving Sandy

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Oct 29, 2012 10:44 AM

Hurricane Sandy, courtesy of Crisis Response

We're keeping a running list of websites, hotlines, and other resources to help Central Pennsylvanians stay safe during the storm.  Check back periodically for updates:

Removing storm debris

Small debris does not require a permit for disposal.

You'll need written permission from DEP to get rid of "large woody debris that requires operating machinery in the stream to remove it, or removal of a gravel bar."

Leave your flood-damaged appliances and oil-based items for a later collection day. This includes propane tanks, refrigerators, heating oil tanks, electronic equipment, tires, gasoline, and paints. Store them in a dry location for separate collection in the future.

Other questions about clearing storm debris? Contact your local DEP office. Find the list on the "Regional Resources" section of the DEP website.

Courtesy of the Dept. of Environmental Protection.


Nearby shelters


Text "shelter" + your zip code to 43362.

Courtesy of the governor's office.

If you’re an older Pennsylvanian

Call 1-800-490-8505 to be connected with a local Area Agencies on Aging.  Find shelter or services for the elderly during the storm.

Courtesy of the governor's office.

Road conditions

Particularly in eastern Pennsylvania, motorists are being urged to stay off the roads.  If you have to drive, check the roadways by calling 511, a free hotline, or go online:

You can follow PennDOT on Twitter for tweeted updates, as well: @PennDOTNews.

Food safety precautions

The Department of Agriculture website has tips on what to toss and what to keep if the power goes out and you've got perishables in the fridge.  Also, how to keep food and water safe in a flood. 

Emotional distress?

The National Disaster Distress Helpline has crisis counselors available for Pennsylvanians experiencing stressand anxiety related to Hurricane Sandy.  

Call the Disaster Distress Helpline toll-free at 1-800-985-5990 or text 'TalkWithUs' to 66746.

Spanish-speakers can text 'Hablanos' to 66746. Calls and texts will be answered by trained crisis counselors from call centers throughout the U.S.

Tips for farmers

The Department of Ag has advice on how to minimize flood damage:

      • Ensure manure storage area has sufficient capacity, as rains can add to depth.

      • Relocate livestock and animals from low-lying, flood-prone areas.

      • Move machinery, feed, grain, pesticides, herbicides, forage bales and nursery stock to higher elevation.

      • Store enough livestock feed and water for 72 hours.

      • Fill generators with fuel and test them to ensure they are in good repair.

      • Disconnect electric power to all buildings that may flood.

    Crop farmers should:
      • Notify their crop insurance agent within 72 hours of discovery of crop damage.
      • Leave intact all residue and crop damage until insurance agents can properly assess extent of damage.
      • Contact their agent or the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at 717-705-9511 with questions about crop insurance.

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