Emergency Preparedness Special Needs Survey

The Southeast Pennsylvania Regional Task Force (SEPA-RTF) is a cooperative effort of Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. The task force is organized to assist member agencies with tools, strategies and guidance in their efforts toward an all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness. This project, the Berks County Special Needs Survey, is an example of these efforts. For the purpose of this project, a special needs individual is someone who is likely to require assistance in excess of that provided to the general public in a time of disaster, particularly in the event that large scale evacuation is necessary. These special needs could include, but are not limited to, requiring specialized medical equipment, difficulty walking, blindness, deafness, or being bedridden. They could also include having limited access to transportation, not understanding directions public safety officials will provide due to language barriers, and not being able to receive those directions due to not having access to television, internet or radio.

The information entered in this database is encrypted and will only be used by emergency managers to better identify and assist those individuals in our community who may be least able to help themselves in times of disaster.

Spotted Lanternfly Update

Spotted Lanternfly Update

In the summer, Spotted Lanternfly become more mobile and increase in size and strength, specifically around the month of July. This means that these insects will be more visible and able to travel further distances. This year, improved control methods have been introduced for property owners, with the release of modified circle traps. Sticky bands are still effective, however circle traps are better at catching the adult Spotted Lanternfly and assist in minimizing the ecological impact on non-target species.

The circle trap is made of mesh and wraps completely around the tree. As Spotted Lanternfly climb the tree, the mesh guides it up into a collection bag in which it is unable to escape. The bag can be replaced as it fills up, while the rest of the trap remains in place throughout the season.

To purchase a trap, visit: Click Here

To make your own trap, visit: Click Here

When you leave your home this summer, don't forget to take precautions that prevent Spotted Lanternfly from traveling with you from place-to-place. Egg masses look like a splash of mud and can be hidden on any flat surface while easily blending in and moving with you anywhere that you go. Be sure to check all vehicles, trailers, campers, and other equipment including around front and rear windshield wipers, grills, roof racks, wheel wells, and truck beds.

With this, a Spotted Lanternfly permit is required for all businesses, agencies and organizations, agricultural and non-agricultural, working within a quarantine zone, which move regulated articles, such as products, vehicles, and other conveyances, within or from a quarantine zone. The goal of the permitting process is education. Through the permit course, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences explain the risks to Pennsylvania's economy and residents' quality of life, how to identify the insect in all stages of its life, and how to prevent the spread.

You can contact the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture team with questions on permitting and assistance with quarantine compliance at here or 717-787-5674. Contact the Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences' team for help with questions on Spotted Lanternfly management or to report SLF sightings at here or 1-888-422-3359.

The Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, an invasive planthopper has been discovered in Berks County. The insect is native to China, India, Japan, Vietnam, and introduced to Korea where it is a pest. The lanternfly attacks many hosts including grapes, apple, pines, stone fruits, and Tree of Heaven and has the potential to greatly impact the grape, fruit tree, and logging industries. Early detection is vital for the protection of Pennsylvania businesses and agriculture. For more information on this serious new insect pest in our region, use these links: Pest Alert and Quarantine Information

Before you move outdoor items from the quarantine area, check for spotted lanternfly egg masses, adults, and nymphs. Make sure all items are pest free before you move them. Help keep this pest from spreading. Print and use this checklist when checking items: Spotted Lanternfly Checklist

License Your Dog in PA

All dogs three months or older must be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year. Violators can be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation plus court costs. An annual license is $8.50 and a lifetime license is $51.50. If the animal is spayed or neutered, the annual fee is $6.50 and lifetime is $31.50. Discounts are available to older adults and people with disabilities. The small license fee helps the millions of dogs in the state by funding the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. Dog licenses are available from your local county treasurer and other licensing agents.

Reasons for dog licensing:

• It’s the law. All dogs three months and older must have a current license.

• If your dog gets lost, a license is the best way to get him back. A license helps animal control and shelters identify your dog and get him back home safely.

• The cost of a license is less than the penalty for being caught without one. Owners who fail to license their dogs could face a fine of up to $300 for each unlicensed dog.

• License fees support animal control. The annual fee you pay to license your dog helps keep shelters running and supports the work of the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, which is responsible for ensuring the welfare of dogs, regulating dangerous dogs and overseeing annual licensing and rabies vaccinations.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful

Consumers want and need to know not only where to take their televisions and old computer monitors, but why is it worth taking those extra steps? We need to make it easy to obtain this information,eWastePA.org does exactly that! The site not only explains why and how to recycle electronics, it links consumers to recycling programs in their community.

Memory Care In Pennsylvania

Alzheimer’s disease was responsible for more than 4,000 deaths in Pennsylvania in 2015, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This makes it the sixth leading cause of death in the state, and it’s projected that the number of people living with Alzheimer’s in Pennsylvania will grow 14.3% by 2025. The CDC estimates that 5 million people nationwide were living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia conditions in 2014. By 2060, that number is expected to hit 13.9 million. Current facts and figures.

Memory care facilities provide those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia with care that is tailored to their unique needs. Memory care can take place in its own facility, or as part of a designated wing of another residential care community. Staff members of memory care units or facilities undergo specialized training in caring for those with memory impairment, and the facilities often coordinate social activities and schedules specifically for the needs of those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

This guide will cover the cost of memory care in Pennsylvania, financial assistance options for paying for memory care, free memory care resources in the state, and a directory of memory care facilities in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Residents Urged to Test Homes for Radon

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today urged all Pennsylvanians to test their homes for radon, a deadly radioactive gas that is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers in the United States. DEP also urged residents to take action to reduce radon levels in their homes if they are high.

Due to our geology, radon is found everywhere in Pennsylvania. For that reason, we urge residents to test their homes to protect themselves and their family's health, said DEP Secretary John Quigley. Winter is the best time to test your home for radon because doors and windows are typically closed and tightly sealed, producing the most accurate results.

January is Radon Action Month, and a great time to test. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets the action level for radon at 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. Residents with levels at or above that figure should take steps to lower them.

Testing for radon is the only way to know if a home, school, workplace or other structure has elevated concentrations of radon. Test kits can be purchased at most hardware or home improvement stores at an average cost of $15 to $25 per test. If you are uncomfortable doing the testing yourself you can hire a state-certified radon tester, or if you are selling your home and want a radon test, it is best to hire a certified tester. The cost of a mitigation system typically ranges around $1,000.

Pennsylvania law requires all radon service providers, such as radon testers, radon mitigators and radon laboratories to be certified by DEP. The list of Pennsylvania-certified radon service providers is updated monthly and available on DEP's website. You can also obtain a hard copy of the directory or verify a company's certification by calling 800-23RADON.

In 2014, the highest radon level ever recorded in the U.S. was found in a home in Lehigh County.The concentration measured was 3,715 pCi/L, more than 900 times EPA's action level of 4 pCi/L. DEP recommended the owners vacate their home until it could be remediated to safe levels.

Approximately 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year are attributable to radon exposure so the threat is very real,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy. Radon exposure combined with smoking is a particularly lethal combination so we encourage everyone to take steps to reduce their risk.

If you are building a new home, DEP recommends installing a passive radon system during construction. If high radon levels are found when the home is completed, a fan can be readily installed. There are good reasons to install a radon system during construction:

There is no reliable way to test the ground in advance for radon.

The average residential radon level in Pennsylvania is 7-8 picocuries per liter.

The cost of installing the radon system during construction should be less than installing one after the fact.

Building the radon system internally should keep aesthetics of the home intact. If radon is not addressed during construction, an outside radon system may be required if the radon test comes back greater than 4 picocuries per liter.

For people buying or selling a home, Pennsylvania's Real Estate Seller Disclosure Act requires sellers to disclose the results of any known radon testing. DEP's website lists radon testing options for real estate transactions

DEP, in cooperation with Commonwealth Media Services, has produced a public service announcement about the importance of radon testing. The PSA is currently airing on Pennsylvania, television and radio stations during January. The PSA is available on DEP's YouTube Channel.

For more information about radon testing and radon resistant construction, visit DEP's website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Susan Rickens, 717-787-1323