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.
Created on Thursday, 16 June 2016 09:32
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. Warning signs and symptoms vary but may include:
• Heavy sweating
• Skin cold, pale, and clammy
• Weak pulse
• Fainting and vomiting
What You Should Do
• Move to a cooler location
• Lie down and loosen your clothing
• Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible
• Sip water
• If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately
• High body temperature (above 103?F)
• Hot, red, dry or moist skin
• Rapid and strong pulse
• Possible unconsciousness
What You Should Do
• Call 911 immediately – this is a medical emergency
• Move the person to a cooler location
• Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or a bath
• Do NOT give fluids
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.
Created on Thursday, 02 June 2016 09:01
Family Preparedness Plans Must Include Pets
IEMA, local emergency management agencies to focus on pet preparedness throughout June
SPRINGFIELD – According to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association, 65 percent of U.S. households include at least one pet. If your family includes a dog, cat, hamster or other furry, feathered or scaly friends, don’t forget to include their unique needs in your home emergency plans.
Throughout the month of June, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies will highlight the importance of emergency preparedness for pets.
“Pets are beloved members of many families these days,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “That’s why it’s so important to include your pet’s needs when developing your family emergency plan and stocking your emergency supply kit.”
Joseph said home emergency supply kits for people should include a three-day supply of such items as food, water, first aid kit, weather alert radio, flashlights, spare batteries and other items. Pet owners should also have a pet preparedness kit stocked with items such as:
• At least a three-day supply of food and water
• Extra supplies of pet medicines
• Copies of pet registration, vaccinations and other important documents
• Photo of your pet in case you are separated during an emergency
• Collar with ID tag, harness or leash
• Crate or other pet carrier in case of evacuation
• Pet litter and box, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach for sanitation
• Toys, treats or other familiar items to reduce your pet’s stress during the emergency
A disaster may require you to evacuate your home, sometimes with little notice. It’s important to take pets with you, as an evacuation could last several days, even weeks, and your pets likely cannot survive without care. Plan now for places you and your pets can stay following an evacuation, as many public shelters do not allow animals inside.
It’s also important to have a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for or evacuate your animals yourself. Talk to neighbors, friends and family to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.
Additional pet preparedness and general emergency preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov, the Ready Illinois Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois and on Twitter at Twitter.com/ReadyIllinois.
Created on Monday, 02 May 2016 15:33
IEMA Highlights Preparedness for People
with Access and Functional Needs in May
Ready Illinois website offers emergency preparedness tips for people
with functional needs and their caregivers
SPRINGFIELD – The minutes and hours following a disaster can be scary and stressful for anyone. Emergency preparedness, such as a home emergency supply kit and a plan for how family members will communicate in a disaster, can ease post-disaster stress. For households with members who have disabilities, functional needs or may need assistance during an emergency, disaster preparedness can be a matter of life or death.
Throughout May, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies will highlight the importance of disaster preparedness for people with functional and access needs.
“Illinois is susceptible to many types of hazards, such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, floods, and ice storms, that can create dangerous situations, particularly for those who may need some type of assistance,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We have information that can help people and their caregivers take actions to help them stay safe during and after a disaster.”
Joseph said the Ready Illinois website offers a guidebook with preparedness tips for people with visual, cognitive or mobility impairments; people who are deaf or hard of hearing; those who utilize service animals or life support systems; and senior citizens. The guide, Emergency Preparedness Tips for Those with Functional Needs, is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
For each functional need, the guidebook provides a list of supplemental items for a disaster kit, tips on developing an emergency plan, suggestions on how to be better informed about community emergency planning and a checklist of preparedness activities.
The Ready Illinois website also offers more than two dozen preparedness videos in American Sign Language on such topics as what to do before, during and after tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flooding, how to build an emergency supply kit, and what to do if you’re instructed to evacuate.
The videos were developed in collaboration with the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission.
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