IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather
Dangerous storms predicted through Tuesday evening for much of Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – A threat of severe weather with a potential for tornadoes throughout much of Illinois today and tonight is a reminder that it’s important to always be ready for dangerous weather. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) encourages people to stay aware of local forecasts and be prepared to act quickly if storm warnings are issued.
“It’s critical for people to have multiple ways to receive notifications and updated information about severe weather warnings, such as through a weather alert radio,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “It’s possible some of the severe storms this evening will occur after dark when most people are inside and asleep. A weather alert radio can wake you up and give you time to seek shelter when dangerous weather or other hazards are approaching your area.”
Joseph said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather alert radios can be programmed to issue a tone alarm and provide information about a warning that has been issued for your county. Other ways to receive severe weather warnings include Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), weather alert apps, TV and radio broadcasts, the Internet and outdoor warning sirens.
Seek shelter immediately if a tornado warning is issued for your area. The best shelter is in a basement or cellar. If an underground shelter is not available, find an interior room or hallway on the lowest level, such as a closet, small interior hallways and bathrooms without windows.
“Severe weather is already imminent across Illinois on the last day of February, which underscores how important it is to be prepared for thunderstorms that produce wind damage, large hail, tornadoes and flash flooding any time of the year," said Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Lincoln. "The key points of severe weather safety include avoiding flooded roads in vehicles, seeking shelter in a secure building - preferably in the basement - when a tornado is nearby, and staying away from windows, doors and upper levels of buildings during severe thunderstorms.
IEMA and local emergency management agencies will be promoting Severe Weather Preparedness Month throughout March. In addition, IEMA and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) are sponsoring an online contest that offers Illinois residents a chance to win a portable weather alert radio. The “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest will begin on March 1 and continue through March 31.
The weather alert radio contest will be available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov. A total of 100 portable weather alert radios will be awarded to randomly selected participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. Winners will be announced in April. The radios were purchased by IESMA as part of an effort to increase the use of the devices in communities throughout Illinois.
IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides information about tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding along with recommended actions to take before, during and after each of these weather events. It is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
Preparedness tips and information are also available through the Ready Illinois Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter Page (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois).
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IEMA Encourages People to Prepare for Earthquakes
Preparedness actions can prevent injuries, reduce property damage
“While we don’t experience major earthquakes with the same frequency as the western U.S., some of the most powerful earthquakes to ever occur in the continental U.S. happened along the New Madrid seismic zone about 200 years ago,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We can’t predict when the next major earthquake will occur, but we can help people learn how to stay safe and reduce damage to their homes.”
In conjunction with Earthquake Preparedness Month in Illinois, IEMA is adding a new 30-second TV spot to the Ready Illinois broadcast preparedness campaign, which is aired in cooperation with the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) Public Education Partnership (PEP) program. The new spot directs people to the Ready Illinois website for information on how to prepare their homes for an earthquake. It will air on IBA member TV stations serving residents of southern Illinois, where the greatest risk of earthquakes in Illinois exists. The spot is also available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
Joseph noted that the actual movement of the ground in an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most casualties result from falling objects and debris caused by the earth shaking.
Learning how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” can help people prevent injury during an earthquake. The phrase reminds people to drop down to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and hold on to that object and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends.
There are several steps people can take to help prevent injuries and property damage at home, such as anchoring bookshelves, overhead light fixtures, wall hanging and large appliances, learning how to shut off gas, water and electricity and placing heavy objects on lower shelves.
More information about earthquake preparedness is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
IEMA, ALAIL Release Video to Help Real Estate Agents Inform Home Buyers about Radon Risks
Will help sellers comply with Illinois Radon Awareness Act
SPRINGFIELD – Real estate professionals and home sellers in Illinois have a new tool to help them meet state legal requirements regarding radon in homes. A three-minute video developed by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALAIL) is now available to ensure home buyers receive information about radon as required by the Illinois Radon Awareness Act.
The act, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2008, requires home sellers to provide anyone buying a home, condominium or other residential property in Illinois with information about indoor radon exposure and the fact that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause overall.
The law doesn’t require homes be tested for radon prior to the sale or that radon remediation work be conducted if test results show high levels of radon. However, if a radon test has been conducted on the home, those results must be provided to the buyer.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep into homes from the soil beneath the foundation. It’s estimated more than 1,100 people in Illinois develop radon-related lung cancer each year, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes radon as the leading cause of home-related deaths in the U.S.
“With more than 100,000 home purchases each year in Illinois, the Radon Awareness Act has significantly increased public awareness of radon hazards and how that risk can be reduced through installation of a radon reduction system,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “This video is a quick, simple way for real estate agents and home sellers to provide this important required information.”
The video, “Homebuyer’s Guide: What you need to know about radon and your new home,” is available on the IEMA website at www.radon.illinois.gov and on the ALAIL website at www.healthhouse.org. Additional information about radon is also available on those websites.
“We spend a majority of time in our homes and since radon is the leading cause of death in the home, it’s important to know what levels are present,” said Angela Tin, Vice President Environmental Health of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest.
January was proclaimed Radon Action Month in Illinois by Governor Bruce Rauner to encourage residents to test their homes for radon.
Governor Rauner Proclaims January ‘Radon Action Month’
It’s estimated more than 1,100 people in Illinois develop radon-related lung cancer each year, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes radon as the leading cause of home-related deaths in the U.S.
A display on radon risks, testing and mitigation currently is on display in the SIU medical library to educate medical students and medical professionals about the naturally occurring health hazard. In addition, IEMA radon program staff will provide a presentation on radon during a “Lunch and Learn” for SIU employees on Jan. 27 in the medical library.
Addressing the impact radon has on health, Tracey Smith noted, “We are aware that where a person lives affects their health more than what we often do in the health care setting. It has been well-documented that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco for those who smoke and the leading cause of lung cancer for those who are non-smokers. Therefore, as we provide training to future health care providers on how to provide general preventive messages to patients to reduce the risk of cancer, we must include education on the impact of radon exposure on lung cancer risk.”
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