Created on Monday, 01 August 2016 16:23
Parents Encouraged to Include Emergency Preparedness in Back-to-School Plans
August is School and Campus Preparedness Month in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – In the next few weeks, students from pre-kindergarten through college will be headed back to school. As parents prepare their students for the new academic year, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies across the state are encouraging parents to include emergency preparedness in their back-to-school plans.
“Emergencies can occur any time of the day or night, including when children are in school,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “The start of a new school year is the perfect time to make sure you know your school’s plans for keeping students safe during an emergency and then talking to your child about those plans.”
Joseph offered several back-to-school planning tips for parents of school-aged children, including:
• Find out where children will be taken in the event of an evacuation during school hours.
• Ensure your current emergency contact information is on file at your child’s school.
• Pre-authorize a friend or relative to pick up your children in an emergency and make sure the school knows who that designated person is.
• 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 following an emergency. As phone congestion eases, you can follow up with a phone call to relay more information.
Students headed off to college also need to be prepared for emergencies. Many college campuses offer email and text messages to alert students of potential dangers, such as severe weather and other threats. Encourage your college student to sign-up for such alerts. Some colleges also provide alert messages for parents so they also are aware of potential dangers on campus. In addition, make sure your student knows the emergency plans for their dorm or apartment building.
Additional preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
Created on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 15:26
Illinois Department of Public Health Safety Tips for Heat
SPRINGFIELD - With high temperatures expected over the next couple of days, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. is urging Illinoisans to take preventive actions to avoid heat-related illness like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
“High heat and humidity can lead to serious health problems. It’s important for people to recognize the signs of heat-related illness and take action to prevent becoming sick,” said Director Shah. “To help your body cope with high temperatures, take steps to stay cool, increase your fluid intake, decrease your activities and wear appropriate clothing.”
• Stay in air-conditioned buildings. Cooling centers can be found by logging onto http://www.illinois.gov/KeepCool/SitePages/CoolingCenters.aspx.
• Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
• Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
• Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
• Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
• Check on at-risk friends, family, and neighbors at least twice a day. These may include seniors and people with chronic health conditions.
• Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to hydrate.
• Drink two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
• Avoid alcohol or beverages with high amounts of sugar.
• Check the local news for extreme heat warnings.
• Visit www.dph.illinois.gov for heat related information.
Normally, the body cools itself by sweating. However, if temperatures and humidity are extremely high, sweating is not effective in maintaining the body’s normal temperature. If the body does not cool properly or does not cool enough, a person may suffer a heat-related illness, which can become serious or even deadly if unattended.
People most vulnerable for heat-related illness include the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with a chronic medical condition.
The Illinois Department on Aging encourages relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to senior citizens living alone. When temperatures and humidity are extremely high, seniors and people with chronic health conditions should be monitored for dehydration and other effects of extreme heat. Additionally, seniors should eat lighter meals, take longer and more frequent rests, and drink plenty of fluids.
Never leave anyone, including pets, alone in a closed, parked vehicle. The air temperature inside a car rises rapidly during hot weather and can lead to brain damage or death.
Log onto www.ready.illinois.gov for more heat safety information and updates on statewide weather watches, warnings, and advisories.
IDPH Safety Tips For Heat
Created on Tuesday, 05 July 2016 15:33
Heat, Humidity Can Be Deadly Combination
Emergency management officials offer heat safety tips
SPRINGFIELD – On average, heat kills more people each year than other weather-related hazards, such as tornadoes, floods and lightning. To increase awareness about the dangers of extreme heat, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies are offering heat safety tips throughout July to help people stay safe when temperatures rise.
According to the National Weather Service, heat accounted for an average of 113 fatalities each year from 2006–2015. During that same period, tornadoes caused an average of 110 deaths each year, while floods resulted in an annual average of 84 fatalities.
“People often don’t realize how dangerous hot weather can be,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We want everyone to be aware of the dangers of extreme heat and what they can do to stay safe and healthy.”
Joseph said heat-related fatalities can be prevented by taking precautions when temperatures rise. One of the most important heat safety tips is to never leave children, elderly people, adults with disabilities, or pets in parked cars even for a short time. Temperatures in vehicles rise much faster than many people realize.
Even with the windows slightly open, temperatures inside a vehicle will rise 30 to 40 degrees in less than 30 minutes. The effects of hot cars can be more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults.
Several tragic deaths also have occurred when children got into vehicles without their parents’ knowledge and then couldn’t get out. It’s important to always lock car doors and trunks, even at home, and keep keys out of children’s reach.
Other hot weather tips include:
• Stay hydrated by drinking at least 1½ to 2 quarts of fluids daily, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
• Avoid alcoholic beverages and drinks containing caffeine.
• Avoid overexertion and strenuous outdoor activities if possible.
• Take advantage of cooling centers, public pools and air-conditioned stores and malls during periods of extreme heat. Even a few hours a day in air conditioning can help prevent heat-related illnesses.
• Don’t forget your pets. Offer pets extra water and place the water bowl in a shaded area if outdoors. Make sure pets have a shady refuge where they can escape direct sun exposure.
• If you or someone around you begins experiencing dizziness, nausea, headache, confusion and a rapid pulse, seek medical attention immediately, as these could be the symptoms of heatstroke.
Additional tips on how to protect yourself and others from heat-related illnesses are available on the state’s Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov).
Created on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 16:17
IEMA Encourages People to Stay Aware, Be Prepared
for Potential Severe Weather
Dangerous thunderstorms, damaging winds, tornadoes, flash flooding possible for northern half of Illinois Wednesday
SPRINGFIELD – With severe weather predicted for the northern half of Illinois on Wednesday, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today encouraged people to stay aware of local forecasts and be prepared to act quickly if storm warnings are issued.
“Parts of northern and central Illinois could see severe weather tonight, with more severe storms possible during the day and into the evening hours on Wednesday,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We want everyone to stay aware and be prepared to seek shelter immediately if a storm warning is issued.”
Joseph said 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, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), weather alert apps, TV and radio broadcasts, the Internet, outdoor warning sirens and more.
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.
WEAs are available on most smartphones. Check your phone’s notification settings under ‘Government Alerts’ to ensure ‘Emergency Alerts’ is turned on. With a WEA-enabled phone, you will receive tornado and flash flood warnings issued for your current location, even if you’re traveling. Other smartphone alerting apps also are available, including the tornado app by the American Red Cross.
In addition, many communities have outdoor warning sirens, which can alert people outdoors of an approaching hazard. Don’t rely on these sirens to alert you when you’re inside a building or asleep.
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.
For more information about severe weather preparedness, visit www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
Created on Monday, 20 June 2016 08:19
IEMA Cautions “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors”
Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 19-25
SPRINGFIELD – “When thunder roars, go indoors” is more than a catchy phrase about lightning safety. It’s a reminder that you’re at risk of being struck by lightning if you’re outdoors and can hear thunder. That’s the message the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency management agencies will promote during Lightning Safety Awareness Week June 19-25.
“We all enjoy being outdoors on beautiful summer days,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “But don’t push your luck when thunderstorms are in the area. There’s absolutely no picnic, golf game or other outdoor activity that’s worth risking your life.”
Joseph added it’s important to remain inside a substantial building or hard-topped vehicle for 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder.
According to the NWS, there were no lightning-related fatalities in Illinois in 2015. Nationwide, 27 people were killed by lightning. The fatalities occurred while people were fishing, working, walking, camping, riding motorcycles, under or near trees, or participating in other outdoor activities.
“To date, all of the lightning fatalities in the U.S. have occurred outdoors,” said Heather Stanley, meteorologist with the NWS office in Lincoln. “Checking the weather forecast should be a step in planning any outdoor activity. But most importantly, don’t hesitate to act if you hear thunder. No place is safe outside in a thunderstorm.”
While fewer than 10 percent of people who are struck by lightning are killed, many lightning strike survivors suffer various degrees of disability. Only a few lightning strike victims actually suffer burns, and these are usually minor. However, many lightning strike survivors are left with debilitating life-long effects, including memory loss, personality changes, fatigue, irreparable nerve damage, chronic pain and/or headaches, difficulty sleeping and dizziness.
People shouldn’t hesitate to help someone who has been struck by lightning since victims do not carry an electrical charge. The surge of electricity through a lightning victim’s body causes cardiac arrest in most fatalities, so immediate medical attention is critical. If the victim doesn’t have a pulse and isn’t breathing, CPR should be administered immediately.
For additional tips on lightning safety visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
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