Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) and Speaker of the House Sam Smith (R-Jefferson, Indiana, Armstrong) joined Governor Tom Corbett in DuBois City and Jefferson and Clearfield Counties today to meet with local officials and emergency management personnel to assess local flood damage.
During a tour of the region, Senator Scarnati, Representative Smith and Governor Corbett were accompanied by Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director, Glenn Cannon, and Adjutant General, Wesley Craig. The group was able to view and evaluate areas affected by the severe thunderstorms and flooding which began impacting the region on Thursday.
Scarnati and Smith expressed their gratitude for the quick response and tireless efforts of emergency responders, water rescue crews, local police, municipal workers, local officials and area volunteers who have been working tirelessly to help victims recover from this disaster.
DuBois City has sustained the most significant amount of damage in the region. Surrounding areas in Jefferson and Clearfield Counties have also been brutally affected by the flooding.
“While speaking with area residents and touring the flooded areas, it was clear to see the severe impact this disaster has had on our community,” Scarnati said. “Our region has seen flooding before, but not to this magnitude and not in the recent past.”
Scarnati and Smith emphasized that with the ground saturated and more rain expected, flooding can occur faster. Area residents are urged to avoid driving or walking in standing water which can be hazardous to an individual’s health and safety.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for many families in our area,” Smith said. “I would encourage people with property damage to get cost assessments to the county Emergency Management Agency as soon as possible. With this information in hand, local officials are better able to access the sources of help that might be available.”
PEMA Director, Glenn Cannon, explained that certain benchmarks need to be reached in order for counties to receive federal assistance and that PEMA will be coordinating with local governments to determine the extent of flooding. Individuals whose homes or businesses have sustained damages and need help should contact county offices.
According to PEMA officials, the next three locations that will be assessed for damage are Reynoldsville, Punxsutawney, and Big Run in Jefferson County.
Smith said he was disappointed that circumstances prohibited the group from visiting some of the other effected communities in Jefferson County.
“This is a challenging time for our community, however, it is encouraging to see so many individuals working together to return things to normal as soon as possible,” Scarnati and Smith said. “We will continue to work with Governor Corbett and PEMA to determine ways to best assist local residents with clean up and recovery in the days and weeks ahead.”
Flood Clean-Up Kits for residents are available at the DuBois First United Methodist Church. Residents are encouraged to call for additional information and pickup hours, (814) 371-5150 or (814) 335-3230.
Kits are also available at the Reynoldsville Fire Hall and the Jefferson County Emergency Operations Center, phone 814-849-5052.
Congressman Glenn "GT" Thompson and State Rep. Matt Gabler will be touring the area today.
Video provided by Commonwealth Media Services