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Written by John Dwyer   
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 07:26

Champaign County Emergency Management Agency Named NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has named the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency (CCEMA) a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador.  The initiative recognizes CCEMA as a NOAA partner in improving the country’s readiness, responsiveness and overall resilience against extreme weather and climate events.  The goal of the program is to unify efforts of government units, nonprofit organizations, academia and private business to mitigate, prepare for and respond to weather related emergencies.

“This recognition builds on the county’s previous designation as a Storm Ready County to emphasize our commitment to being prepared to respond to severe weather events,” said Champaign County EMA coordinator John Dwyer.  “It represents a joint effort with local first responders and the National Weather Service to help residents of the county protect themselves.”

National Weather Service Director Dr. Louis Uccellini has stated the goal of the Weather-Ready Nation endeavor is to assure that communities become better prepared and informed about extreme weather to protect property and, more importantly, lives.

The Champaign County Emergency Management Agency is a unit of the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.

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Written by John Dwyer   
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 20:41

IEMA Encourages People to Plan for Emergencies during National Preparedness Month in September

‘Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare’ is Theme
SPRINGFIELD – Disasters can strike anytime and anywhere. To encourage people to be better prepared for emergencies, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies throughout Illinois are joining local, state and federal agencies across the U.S. during September to observe National Preparedness Month. The campaign will conclude on September 30 with ‘America’s PrepareAthon,’ a national day of action.

“Spending just a few minutes today on personal preparedness can help you and your family stay safe when disaster strikes,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “We’re encouraging people to find out what hazards could affect their areas and then take actions to increase their preparedness, such as developing an emergency supply kit and a making a plan for reuniting if the family is separated during a disaster.”

The theme for this year’s preparedness campaign is “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare.” Each week during the month, the campaign will focus on a different area of preparedness. The weekly themes include:

 Sept. 1-7 – How to reconnect with family after a disaster
 Sept. 8-14 – How to plan for specific needs before a disaster
 Sept. 15-21 – How to build an emergency kit
 Sept. 22-30 – How to practice for an emergency

Throughout September, IEMA will post daily preparedness tips on the Ready Illinois Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter (@ReadyIllinois). IEMA also maintains the state’s Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), a one-stop resource for detailed information about what to do before, during and after disasters. 

During disasters, IEMA uses the Ready Illinois website, Facebook and Twitter to provide critical information about the incident, including shelter locations, road closures, safety information, photos and more.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 07:20
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Written by John Dwyer   
Thursday, 07 August 2014 10:07

IEMA Encourages Parents to Include Emergency Preparedness in Back-to-School Plans

August is School Preparedness Month in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – School bells soon will be ringing as students across the state begin the new school year.  The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is joining with local emergency management agencies throughout Illinois during August to encourage families to include emergency preparedness in their back-to-school plans.

“No one likes to think about the possibility of an emergency happening while children are in school or at daycare,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken.  “But as we saw with the May 2013 tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma and other incidents, it can happen.  A few minutes of your time now can help you and your child deal with emergencies that may occur during the school day.” 

Monken offered several back-to-school planning tips for parents of school-aged children, including:

• Know your child’s school or day care emergency plan.
• Find out where children will be taken in the event of an evacuation during school hours.
• Ensure your emergency contact information is up-to-date 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.
• Have a family communications plan and review the plan periodically with your child.  The plan should include contact information for an out-of-area family member or friend, since local telephone networks may not work during a major disaster.

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 at their child’s school.

Additional preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov

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Written by Mitch Kazel   
Sunday, 13 July 2014 10:42

Between 4 and 6 inches of rain, with isolated heaver amounts, fell over parts of Champaign County including, Champaign, Urbana and Savoy, in a roughly 4 hour period this morning. The excessive rainfall amounts led to flooded, intersections, underpasses, basements, culverts, etc. Streets and roads both in town and in rural areas were closed at times while covered in water. The situation has continued to improve throughout the afternoon and most roads and streets are now reopened. There is still heavy runoff, however, and people are cautioned against driving in flooded areas or playing in the water.

There have been no injuries reported. An overnight shelter is being opened by the American Red Cross at 1605 West Kirby, the temporary location of Kenwood School for those who may be temporarily displaced by water or sewage.

Champaign County remains under a Flood Warning until 10:00PM with a Flash Flood Watch beginning at 10:00PM and extending into Sunday afternoon. Another round of heavy rain is possible overnight and could possibly result in more rapid flooding as the ground is saturated and retention ponds, ditches and streams are running full. Motorists are urged to exercise extreme caution overnight. It is nearly impossible to gauge the depth of water running over pavement, especially in the dark. If flooded areas are encountered, remember to “Turn Around Don’t Drown.”
Last Updated on Sunday, 13 July 2014 10:53
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Written by John Dwyer   
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 07:44


Extreme Heat Can Be Serious Health Hazard

IEMA, local EMAs urge people to never leave children, pets in cars

SPRINGFIELD – On average, more people die from heat-related causes each year than any other weather hazard. Yet many people still don’t take heat dangers seriously. That’s why the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies will be working to increase awareness of heat safety throughout July, traditionally one of the hottest months in Illinois.

“We’ve had a few hot spells so far this year, but the hottest part of the summer is yet to come,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “Extreme heat isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be deadly.  We want people to be aware of heat hazards and stay safe this summer.”

According to statistics compiled by the National Weather Service (NWS), more than 3,800 people died from heat-related causes in the U.S. from 1986 - 2013.  During that same period, floods caused 2,246 fatalities while tornadoes were responsible for 2,016 deaths.

Monken said one of the most important safety tips when temperatures rise is to never leave children, disabled adults or pets in parked cars.  Each year, dozens of children and countless pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia.  Hyperthermia occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle.

Temperatures inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even adults.  Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate.  The effects can be more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults.

Parents and caregivers are urged to take actions that will help them remember a child is in the backseat, such as placing a purse, briefcase, cell phone or other crucial item next to the child. 

It’s also important to lock your vehicle doors when at home even if it is parked in the garage.  Curious children can climb into an unlocked vehicle and become a victim of heat stroke.
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).  You can also follow Ready Illinois on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois and on Twitter at twitter.com/ReadyIllinois.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 July 2014 10:28

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