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Emergency Preparedness
Emergency Operations Plan
John Waters
Chief Fire Marshal / Emergency Management Coordinator

William Daywalt
Deputy Fire Marshal / Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator

William Henderson
Fire Inspector / Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator

175 W Valley Forge Rd
King of Prussia, PA  19406

Ph: 610-265-2608
Fx: 610-265-8467
Emergency: 9-1-1

Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
The Township has an Emergency Operations Plan, which outlines how the Township coordinates with other local, county, state and federal agencies in the event of an emergency, ranging from a hazardous material spill to a natural disaster to a terrorist incident.

In the event of a disaster, the overall responsibility for decision making within Upper Merion Township rests with the Township Manager. The Township Manager may declare a local emergency upon finding a disaster has occurred or is imminent.

When a local emergency is declared, Township personnel and representatives from the township emergency first responder organizations may operate an Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the management of community-wide resources (police, public works, fire, EMS, food, shelters, etc.) with various local, county, state and federal agencies to appropriately respond to an emergency event. The protection of health, safety and welfare of our residents is paramount.

The following are examples of EOC staff activities:

  • Requesting mutual aid resources
  • Locating requested resources and directing them to the proper place
  • Managing a wide-scale evacuation
  • Establishing shelters and coordinating social services
  • Coordinating communications with the community
  • Transmitting information over the Emergency Alert System
  • Resolving policy issues

Emergency Preparedness
Emergencies can happen anywhere at anytime. Would you know what to do if you or a loved one needed help? Here's a quick checklist to see if you and your home are safe:

  • Keep a well-stocked first aid kit. Store medication in a locked cabinet so kids can't access it. Keep cleaning agents and dangerous chemicals out of reach. Keep all substances in their original containers.
  • Fire extinguishers are affordable. Keep one near the furnace, in the garage, and anywhere else a fire may start. Make sure everyone knows how to use them.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended or sleep while a candle is burning.
  • Space heaters can be dangerous if not used correctly. Make sure yours will shut off if accidentally tipped over.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors outside each sleeping area in your home, and change batteries regularly.
  • Make sure family members know how to shut off utilities, and post the phone numbers for gas, water and electricity providers.
  • Create and practice a home emergency/escape plan. Determine a meeting place where your family can go if forced to leave the home; post a note on your door telling others the date and time you left, and where you’re going.
  • Keep a bag stocked with cash, nonperishable food and water (3 days' worth for each family member), battery-powered radio, flashlight, first-aid kit, extra eyeglasses and prescription drugs, change of clothes and sturdy shoes, keys, pet supplies, and blanket or sleeping bag. Make sure all family members know where the bag is kept.
  • Keep a radio, blanket, flashlight, first-aid kit, and fresh batteries in every vehicle.
  • Keep a phone list of emergency contacts in your vehicle and wallet or purse.
  • Children should know their street address and last name, and how to dial 911.

Local Disasters
If a local disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Prepare now for a sudden emergency. Learn how to protect yourself and cope with disaster by planning ahead. This checklist will help you get started. Discuss these ideas with your family; then prepare an emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone will see it; on the refrigerator or bulletin board. For additional information about how to prepare for hazards in your community: contact the Upper Merion Township Emergency Management Coordinator or Deputy Emergency Management Coordinators.

Disaster Preparedness: Emergency Checklist
  • Call Your Emergency Management Office or American Red Cross Chapter
  • Find out which disasters could occur in your area.
  • Ask how to prepare for each disaster.
  • Ask how you would be warned of an emergency.
  • Learn your community's evacuation routes.
  • Ask about special assistance for elderly or disabled persons.
  • Ask your workplace about emergency plans.
  • Learn about emergency plans for your children's school or day care center.

Disaster Preparedness: Create an Emergency Plan
  • Meet with household members. Discuss with children the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, and other emergencies.
  • Discuss how to respond to each disaster that could occur.
  • Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
  • Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.
  • Learn how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at main switches.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.
  • Teach children how and when to call 911, police, and fire.
  • Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
  • Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).
  • Teach children how to make long distance telephone calls.
  • Pick two meeting places.
    - A place near your home in case of a fire.
    - A place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.
  • Take a Basic First Aid and CPR Class
  • Keep family records in a water-and fire-proof container.

Disaster Preparedness: Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit
Assemble supplies you might need in an evacuation. Store them in an easy-to-carry container, such as a backpack or duffle bag. Include:

  • A supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every six months.
  • A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
  • A change of clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • A first aid kit and prescription medications.
  • An extra pair of glasses.
  • A battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.
  • Credit cards and cash.
  • An extra set of car keys.
  • A list of family physicians.
  • A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices, such as pacemakers.
  • Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.

Disaster Preparedness: Escape Plan
In a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate your house, apartment, or mobile home on a moment's notice. You should be ready to get out fast.

Develop an escape plan by drawing a floor plan of your residence. Using a black or blue pen, show the location of doors, windows, stairways, and large furniture. Indicate the location of emergency supplies (Disaster Supplies Kit), fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, collapsible ladders, first aid kits, and utility shut off points. Next, use a colored pen to draw a broken line charting at least two escape routes from each room. Finally, mark a place outside of the home where household members should meet in case of fire. Be sure to include important points outside, such as garages, patios, stairways, elevators, driveways, and porches. If your home has more than two floors, use an additional sheet of paper. Practice emergency evacuation drills with all household members at least two times each year.

Disaster Preparedness: Identify Home Hazards
In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire is a potential hazard.

  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.
  • Fasten shelves securely.
  • Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Secure water heater. Strap to wall studs.
  • Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products away from heat sources.
  • Place oily polishing rags or waste in covered metal cans.
  • Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and gas vents.

Disaster Preparedness: If You Need to Evacuate. . .
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio for the location of emergency shelters.
  • Follow instructions of local officials.
  • Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
  • Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Lock your home.
  • Use travel routes specified by local officials.

If you are sure you have time ...

  • Shut off water, gas, and electricity, if instructed to do so.
  • Let others know when you left and where you are going.
  • Make arrangements for pets. Animals are not be allowed in public shelters.

Disaster Preparedness: Prepare an Emergency Car Kit:
  • Battery powered radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Blanket
  • Booster cables
  • Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Bottled water and non-perishable high energy foods, such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter.
  • Maps
  • Shovel
  • Tire repair kit and pump
  • Flares
  • Fire Safety

Special Needs Registry
Sign up for the Special Needs Registry
The Special Needs Registry is designed to help emergency management coordinators locate and safely evacuate people who need special assistance during emergencies and critical events. To learn more visit

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has a unique role in serving as the safety net for the American people in their hour of greatest need. Although the American Red Cross is not a government agency, its authority to provide disaster relief was formalized in 1905, when Congress chartered the Red Cross to "carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply that system in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing those calamities."

As a partner of a network of 186 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies worldwide, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter was founded in 1916 as a chartered unit of the American National Red Cross and serves the 3.5 million people of Montgomery, Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware and Bucks counties.  You can visit the Red Cross website at or call (215) 299-4889 (24 hours a day).

Understanding Sheltering in Place Emergencies

Sheltering in place can disrupt our routines and challenge our ability to tend to responsibilities, such as work and caring for loved ones.  Understandably, we may become nervous or uncomfortable when sheltering in place. The following information can help you cope emotionally with this type of emergency.

During certain emergencies, local authorities may ask or require you to shelter in place.

  • Sheltering in place is taking immediate shelter wherever you are—at home, work, school or in between.

  • Emergency personnel advise or require sheltering in place during rare instances when the safest action for you and others is to remain at your current location.

  • These instances include events such as a gas leak, chemical spill or nuclear accident.

  • Local officials or authorities on the scene are the best source of information for your particular situation.  Following their instructions during a shelter-in-place emergency will help keep you and your loved ones safe.

  • During a shelter-in-place emergency, authorities provide information on TV, the radio and other forms of electronic communication in order to help you understand how to remain safe.

  • In spite of challenging circumstances, most individuals who have sheltered in place have successfully coped with the emergency. You can, too.

Understanding Sheltering in Place Emergencies – What You Can Do
You can take actions that will help protect emotional well-being during a shelter-in-place emergency.

  • Remain informed, if possible, by checking in with local news sources. However, also take care not to become overexposed.  Excessive or repeated exposure to media can increase feelings of stress, uncertainty and fear, especially in children.

  • Pay attention to your emotional health while sheltering in place, remembering that many different feelings are common. Know that others are also experiencing emotional reactions and may need your time and patience to put their feelings and thoughts in order. Try to recognize when you or those around you may need extra support.

  • Monitor your physical health needs.  When sheltering in place for more than a few hours, remember to eat, rest and take regularly prescribed medications. Avoid alcohol or substance use.

  • Focus on positive actions you can take right away, such as taking an inventory of emergency supplies, obtaining accurate information and providing support to others.

  • Try to maintain contact with family, friends and those around you. The telephone and the Internet can be helpful when physical separations become necessary.

  • Hold a picture in your mind of the best possible outcome. Make a list of your personal strengths and use these to help both yourself and others stay emotionally strong and maintain religious and/or spiritual practices that you have found to provide comfort and emotional strength.

Special Situations

  • Children: Be creative, and think of fun activities that will occupy your child’s time.  Keep a schedule, set appropriate limits and maintain usual rules of behavior.

  • If you are alone: Know that the same tips for staying emotionally strong apply. If possible, try to connect with others and stay informed.

  • Pets: Plan to shelter in place with them. If something is not safe for you, it is not safe for them. Like people, pets’ behaviors may change. Keep track of their well-being and, as best you can, take care of their needs.

Understanding Sheltering in Place Emergencies - Typical Reactions

Understanding typical reactions to sheltering in place helps us recognize them and better cope.

  • Our personal emotional reactions during difficult times are unique. Reactions of those who have experienced shelter-in-place emergencies have varied widely, ranging from feelings of stress to uncertainty or even fear.

  • During a shelter-in-place emergency, emotional reactions may show themselves as:

  • Anxiety, particularly when separated from loved ones.

  • Uncertainty regarding how long we will need to shelter in place.

  • Concerns for the physical safety of ourselves and others.

  • Confusion or frustration regarding questions left unanswered by public officials or the media.

  • Guilt about not being able to fulfill responsibilities, such as work, parenting or caring for dependents.

  • Feelings of boredom or isolation.

  • Thoughts of blame, worry or fear.

  • Those who have sheltered in place for more than a few hours have also reported having:

  • Concerns about meeting obligations and lost income.

  • Problems making decisions or staying focused on topics.

  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns.

Earthquake Safety: How can I Prepare?

An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the earth’s surface.  Earthquakes strike suddenly, without warning, and they can occur at any time of the year, day or night. Forty-five states and territories in the United States are at moderate to very high risk of earthquakes, and they are located in every region of the country.

  • Become aware of fire evacuation and earthquake plans for all of the buildings you occupy regularly.

  • Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.

  • Practice drop, cover and hold on in each safe place. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.

  • Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed.

  • Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.

  • Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs.

  • Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.

  • Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.

  • Brace overhead light fixtures.

  • Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.

  • Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.

  • Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction.

  • Keep and maintain an emergency supplies kit in an easy-to-access location.

Earthquake Safety: What should I do during an earthquake?

An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the earth’s surface.  Earthquakes strike suddenly, without warning, and they can occur at any time of the year, day or night. Forty-five states and territories in the United States are at moderate to very high risk of earthquakes, and they are located in every region of the country.

If you are inside when the shaking starts …

  • Drop, cover and hold on. move as little as possible.

  • If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.

  • Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass.

  • Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. If you must leave the building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case
  • there are aftershocks, power outages or other damage.

  • Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.

If you are outside when the shaking starts …

  • Find a clear spot and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops (away from buildings, power lines, trees, streetlights).

  • If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible.  Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.

  • If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out.  Wait for assistance.

  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.

Earthquake Safety: What do I do after an earthquake?

An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the earth’s surface.  Earthquakes strike suddenly, without warning, and they can occur at any time of the year, day or night. Forty-five states and territories in the United States are at moderate to very high risk of earthquakes, and they are located in every region of the country.

  • After an earthquake, the disaster may continue. Expect and prepare for potential aftershocks, landslides or even a tsunami. Tsunamis are often generated by earthquakes.

  • Each time you feel an aftershock, drop, cover and hold on. Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks and even months following an earthquake.

  • Check yourself for injuries and get first aid, if necessary, before helping injured or trapped persons.

  • Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injury from broken objects.

  • Look quickly for damage in and around your home and get everyone out if your home is unsafe.

  • Listen to a portable, battery-operated or hand-crank radio for updated emergency
  • information and instructions.

  • Check the telephones in your home or workplace to see if you can get a dial tone.  Make brief calls to report life-threatening emergencies.

  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.

  • Clean up spilled medications, bleach, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately.

  • Open closet and cabinet doors carefully as contents may have shifted.

  • Help people who require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or disabled.

  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and stay out of damaged areas.

  • Keep animals under your direct control.

  • Stay out of damaged buildings.

  • If you were away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.  Use extreme caution and examine walls, floors, doors, staircases and windows to check for damage.