Strengthening readiness efforts for all Illinois communities during National Preparedness Month
September is the start of National Preparedness Month where the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (IEMA-OHS) and our county Emergency Managers are highlighting the importance of all readiness efforts across the state.
"A disaster preparedness kit and immediate access to the best resources to current safety information is so vital especially during an emergency," said Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (IEMA-OHS) Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. "Additionally, we must continue to strengthen our communities, including older adults, and inform their caregivers ahead of any disasters."
"Your disaster preparedness kit and communications plan should be designed to support your needs, but also the needs of those who may depend on you such as family, pets, and neighbors" said IEMA-OHS Office of Emergency Management Deputy Director Clayton Kuetemeyer. "While a three-day supply of food, water, and medications are standard needs, everyone should supplement their kits with specific items that could help them during an emergency."
Focusing on our senior community on preparedness (https://ready.illinois.gov/plan/seniors.html), we are aligned with the national campaign, "Take control in 1, 2, 3:"
- 1-Assess your needs: Everyone has unique needs. There are several factors that can affect the steps you need to take to prepare yourself and those you care for. Whether you care for pets, children, or have a medical condition or disability, it is important to know what your family will need to stay safe.
- 2-Make a plan: Once you've assessed your needs, you can plan for what you'd do, where you'd go, and what to bring if a disaster strikes. Your emergency supply kit should include items that meet your individual needs.
- 3-Engage your support network: Get to know your neighbors because they, along with your family and friends, can be a support network before, during and after a disaster by providing emotional and practical support.
Your emergency preparedness kit should at least include these preparedness items:
- Water (one gallon per person per day for three days)
- Non-perishable food (three-day supply or ready-to-eat canned or other foods that require no refrigeration or cooking, non-electric can opener, utility knife)
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Battery-operated radio or weather radio with extra batteries
- Extra battery packs and cables to charge your cell phones Copies of important family documents stored in a waterproof bag or container
- Cash (small denominations)
- Hand sanitizer/disinfecting wipes
Find the family communications plan brochure in English (https://ready.illinois.gov/content/dam/soi/en/web/ready/sitecollectiondocuments/ihs-family-communication-plan.pdf) and in Spanish (https://ready.illinois.gov/content/dam/soi/en/web/ready/sitecollectiondocuments/ihs-family-communication-plan-spanish.pdf).
Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (IEMA-OHS): Ready.Illinois.Gov
Back to school is about emergency preparedness, disaster readiness, and vital digital technology
In the coming days, students across Illinois will venture back into the classroom. That’s why this month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (IEMA-OHS), along with local Emergency Management Agencies, are highlighting resources and tips to help students better prepare for their return to the classroom.
Whether you have a new kindergartener, or are a 5th year super senior in college, there are helpful resources available for students of all ages to keep them safe in the classroom throughout the school year.
“School safety includes being aware of on campus hazards, but we also need to utilize the digital resources available to us,” said Homeland Security Advisor to Governor J.B. Pritzker and IEMA-OHS Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Safe2HelpIL is an outstanding start in providing a free resource to all students throughout the State of Illinois to help keep them safe.”
“Safe2HelpIL is designed to help school-age children who experience bullying, mental health struggles, or those who see signs of potential drug use or violence in someone else,” said Deputy Homeland Security Advisor and IEMA-OHS Deputy Director of Homeland Security Claire Moravec.
There are several ways that students from elementary through high school can reach out to Safe2Help:
• Call 1-844-4SAFEIL (723345)
• Text SAFE2 (72332) • Online at https://app.safe22helpil.com/
• Download the Safe2HelpIL app (Android or iOS)
“Launched in October 2021, Safe2HelpIL is a free, information sharing platform that is available 24/7,” said IEMA-OHS School Safety Policy Advisor Samantha Kanish. “In the absence of a trusted adult, students can use a free app, text/phone, or the website (Safe2HelpIL.com) to share school safety issues in a confidential environment.”
“Parents and guardians also play a crucial role in protecting students,” said Kanish. “As students head back to the classroom, be sure to include emergency preparedness in your back-to-school plans.”
Here are some planning tips for parents to consider:
• Know how your school will contact parents/guardians in the event of an evacuation
• Ensure the school has all of your current emergency contact information on file • Pre-authorize a friend or relative to pick up your children in an emergency
• Teach children with cell phones about ‘Text First, Talk Later.’ Short, simple text messages, such as “R U OK?,” and “I’m OK,” are more likely to get through than a phone call if phone service is disrupted during an emergency. As phone congestion eases, you can follow up with a phone call to relay more information.
For college students, a little planning will help provide extra information before and during an emergency. Almost all colleges/universities utilize a mass notification system that alerts students via email and text messages of potential dangers, severe weather, and other threats. Encourage your college student to sign-up for such alerts which typically supplement the public alert warnings delivered across campus via loudspeakers or on public display boards.
Several colleges go one step further, providing alert messages for parents/guardians, so they also are aware of potential dangers on campus. As always, make sure your student knows the emergency plans for their dorm or apartment building.
Hot in Herre…Illinois Heat Safety Tips!
SPRINGFIELD – July is National Extreme Heat Safety Month and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (IEMA-OHS) has some easy tips to keep you cool.
“Illinois has many days of sweltering high heat including several 100-degree days,” explained IEMA-OHS Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Know the differences and prevent heat cramps, heat illness, and heat stroke.”
Extreme heat is defined as two to three days of heat and humidity with successive 90+ degree days. In July 1995, a heat wave contributed to more than 700 deaths in the
Illinois State Climatologist believe that typically over 300 people die from heat every year. Heat is responsible for the highest number of deaths every year from weatherrelated hazards in Illinois.
Extreme heat safety awareness tips include:
• About 40 percent of unwanted heat buildup in homes is through windows
• Use awnings or curtains to deflect the sun
• Fans will move air around, but does not lower your temperature
• Use air conditioning inside your home or visit a store or local mall
• Urban homes are more at risk of extreme heat, so know your local cooling centers
• Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, and lightweight clothing
• Avoid strenuous activity during mid-day
• Hydrate with water, not caffeinated or alcoholic beverages
• Never leave children or pets in a vehicle
• Get trained in first aid to help when someone is suffering from heat illness
These habits will keep you stay safe and help others too. Check on neighbors, friends,
family, and elderly who are more vulnerable to extreme heat. And learn the differences between a heat watch vs heat warning (NWS).
More tips on extreme heat safety can be found here:
Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (IEMA-OHS):
EMERGENCY SERVICES 2023
Compiled by United Way of Champaign County Printed 11/18/22
This guide has been produced as a quick reference to winter housing and food resources. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all services in our community. Community resources are subject to change. For the most current information, always call 2-1-1.
Families/Children Emergency Shelter for Families with Children: To inquire about the Emergency Shelter for Families (ESF), please send an email to
Families with Urbana School Children: Cunningham Township runs an emergency shelter program for families with children enrolled in Urbana School District or who have children staying overnight at Crisis Nursery who have no other place they can stay. The program offers eight units which have a full kitchen and are fully furnished. Families are prioritized based on need and must be screened prior to placement. The program duration is between 30-90 days as long as the families are actively participating in case management services and working toward finding more stable housing option. Ask your Urbana School Counselor or Crisis Nursery to make a referral.
Crisis Nursery: Crisis Nursery is the only emergency-based child care facility open 24 hours, 365 days a year serving ages birth through six. It is open for the entire community to access with no fees or income eligibility. Besides safe shelter for children, they provide home visiting, play groups, support groups, case management and parenting education to strengthen parent skills and confidence. In addition to the services listed above Crisis Nursery provides diapers, formula, clothing, etc. to any community members in need. Emergency transportation support to and from the Nursery is available for families. We believe that asking for help is a sign of strength. Families who may be experiencing a crisis are welcome to call (217)337-2730 to begin the process of scheduling care for their child/children. Families can also text (217)636-4221 if they have any questions.
Regional Office of Education: Is a resource for homeless families with children and youth who are of school age. Pre-school aged children also receive services to ensure access to early childhood and preschool programs. Verification of school enrollment will be required. Services include providing school supplies, physical education clothing, transportation, alarm clocks, or special school fees such as those for field trips, pictures, and book clubs. In addition, funding is also available for tutoring and to assist with the cost of educational summer programs. Call (217)893-3219 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Strides Low Barrier Shelter (City of Champaign Township)-Starting December 12, 2022: Strides Shelter provides year-round full day shelter services to adults located at 70 E Washington in Champaign, IL. This program will not require sobriety, abstinence, or criminal background check to participate in services. The right to self determination is not only preserved but encouraged by the program so that the community member determines what they consider success and how they will achieve success. Case managers are assigned to every community member that utilizes the shelter, but ultimately the community member makes the decision on how and when they would like to interact with the case manager. Daytime services will be available to assist with linking to community resources, on-site groups, laundry, and showers facilities.
C-U at Home (Starting December 12, 2022): C-U at Home is a Mid-Barrier Program that provides 24/7 stability to assist people who are experiencing homelessness. The program is for individuals eighteen and over. Clients must complete an intake which includes a client history and physical capabilities screening. Clients must agree to participate in the program. Each client who participates in the program receives shelter in a non-congregate environment and intensive case management. C-U at Home houses 8 women and 16 men with a small number of overflow options available. The program can last up to 18 months. Interested clients should contact C-U at Home at (217)819-4569 or come to the office Monday-Friday between 10am-3pm. The office is located at 309 S. Neil St. Champaign, IL. *C-U at Home is not utilizing the Outreach/Emergency line at this time. They are only completing intakes during business hours.
Daily Bread Soup Kitchen: The Daily Bread Soup Kitchen's mission is to feed the hungry of our community. Currently, we are providing a hot nutritional meal in a biodegradable clam shell, plus a hearty sack lunch, to-go, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 7 days a week. Because of COVID-19, we cannot offer inside dining. Hours are 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 116 N. First Street, Champaign (217)356-7687 or visit dailybreadsoupkitchen.com.
Canteen Run: The Canteen Run is a mobile truck that offers food, drinks, blankets, and human kindness to those on the streets on Sunday-Wednesday 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Drivers are needed and require a background check. Training is provided on the spot. Contact
The Jubilee Café: Located in the basement of the Community United Church of Christ, located at 805 S. Sixth St. in Campustown. The volunteer-based café will provide fresh, home-cooked takeaway meals every Monday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. to college students, as well as local residents, who struggle with food insecurity. For a list of food panty and soup kitchen locations, dates and hours Contact 2-1-1 (or 1-888-865-9903).
General Services Courage Connection: Individuals or families fleeing domestic violence should contact Courage Connection’s Domestic Violence hotline open 24/7 at 1-877-384-4390. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
The Salvation Army Stepping Stone Program and Daytime Cooling/Warming Center: Stepping Stone is a transitional Housing Program which offer temporary housing for men, women and families who are employed full time and can be housed in 60-90 days. Individuals must follow the program guidelines of maintaining employment while housed. Individuals needs to present as homeless and have homeless verification. If participant(s) meet the criteria for placement they must commit to working the program. Capacity is limited, due to the availability of hotel space. Please contact Jean Ntedika, Program Manager (217)373-7832 ext 230.
The Salvation Army Red Shield Center on Market St. also serves as a daytime warming center on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5p.m., and Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Capacity is limited due to space and staffing. For homeless Veterans needing shelter should call Pre-Screen line at (217)278-9897.
Additional Daytime Cooling/Warming Centers
- The Phoenix Daytime Drop-In Center: 70 East Washington St., Champaign
- All public buildings, including libraries and municipal city, state, and federal buildings, during normal business hours
- Cunningham Township: For Urbana residents, provides general assistance (monthly check) for those out of work or disabled seeking SSI. Rental Assistance for homeless needing move in assistance or those facing evictions, and food panty deliveries. Apply for help online www.cunninghamtownship.org, call (217)384-4144, email
- City of Champaign Township: Emergency Rental Assistance: For households that currently have a past due balance of $800 or less and have a landlord’s notice to vacate OR a household moving into the City of Champaign Township limits and are considered literally homeless by HUD standards that may need assistance with a security deposit. Clients must prove household income and they also cannot have received ANY rental assistance in the past two years from either Champaign or Urbana organizations. The grant is issued once every two years. For more information, please contact Phelicia at (217)403-6122. General Assistance: General Transitional Assistance (GTA): Is a program for mentally or physically disabled persons who absolutely cannot work. These individuals are single adults with no dependents and are applying or have applied for both SSI and SSDI. This program, upon approval, will provide a monthly stipend of $325 until the person is approved for Social Security payments or no longer qualifies for GTA. Applicants must reside in the city limits of Champaign. Applicants cannot have a class X or class 1 drug felony conviction after August 21, 1996. For more information, please contact Dawn at (217)403-6123.
- Rape Crisis Hotline at (217)384-4444 is available 24/7. To reach a mental health professional free of charge: Text TALK to 552020 for English service. Text HABLAR to 552020 for Spanish service.
- Lifeline Free Phone Service: Known as “Obama phones” this is a free phone service for low income residents with a social security number. 3GB data, unlimited texts, and 250-350 call minutes each month. Qualifications are based on income. You can use one of these to 5 apply: tax return, pay stubs, SSI letter, unemployment letter SNAP, Medicaid, housing voucher, or General Assistance letter. Apply through the carriers: 1. Virgin: www.assurancewireless.com or call 1-888 21-5880 - free phone provided. 2.Access: www.accesswireless.com or call 1-888-900-5899 - free phone provided. 3.Safe Link: www.safelinkwireless.com or call 800-723-3546. Must have your own phone - such as a Trac Phone.
- Coordinated Entry-Centralized Intake for Homeless (CIH) Assessments: If you are experiencing homelessness and live in Champaign County, CIH may be able to connect you to a homeless assistance program that can help. Please send an email to
- Need help? Call 2-1-1 or 1-888-865-9903. 211 is a 24/7/365 information and referral service that covers much of central Illinois. TEXT 898 211 Community Resource Center at OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center from the hours of 8 a.m through 5 p.m. Call hours are: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., call (217)337-2635.
March is Severe Weather Preparedness Month
Springfield -Illinois averages 53 tornadoes per year, which means you should grab your dog Toto and be prepared for tornadoes and severe weather. March is Severe Weather Preparedness Month and a good time to plan ahead, especially with the severe weather here in Illinois.
"From heavy snowfall to dangerous winds, everyone in Illinois should be prepared for adverse conditions," said Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. "Last week, Illinois saw multiple tornadoes throughout the state, followed by unseasonably-warm temperatures, and now we're getting ready for snow and potential flooding."
Illinois ranks fourth in the United States for the most tornadoes per square mile.
Communities across the state are also susceptible to flooding as it is the most common natural hazard in the U.S. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), just 1 inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage in your home.
Severe weather preparedness includes gathering information and supplies to prepare for a loss of electricity or if you must, evacuate from your neighborhood. That's why IEMA offers a Family Communications Plan to help people map locations to meet and track important contact information.
IEMA also recommends that you:
Keep all important records and documents in a secure waterproof container
Make an inventory of possessions using lists and photos/videos
Insure your property and possessions
Know how to shut off electricity, gas, and water
Compile an emergency kit and "go bag" to help your family for at least three days during extended power outages or evacuations
In case power is out, make sure flashlights with fresh batteries are ready
Generators should only be run outside, never indoors or in enclosed spaces
A good resource for planning can be downloaded for free at: www2.illinois.gov/ready/plan/Pages/FamilyPlan.aspx
Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA): www.Ready.Illinois.gov
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