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Written by John Dwyer   
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 15:35

Don’t Forget Pets When Planning for Disasters

IEMA, local emergency management agencies to focus on pet preparedness throughout April

SPRINGFIELD – Pets are treasured family members in more than half of Illinois households. 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.

That’s the message the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies will promote throughout April as part of Pet Preparedness Month in Illinois.

“Every home should have an emergency supply kit and plans for how to stay safe when disaster strikes,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Make sure your kit and emergency plans address the needs of every family member, including your pets. Your preparedness efforts today can help keep everyone in your family, including your pets, safe when disaster strikes.”

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

If it’s necessary for you to evacuate your home during a disaster, take your pets with you. 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 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.

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Written by John Dwyer   
Tuesday, 24 March 2015 15:16

‘Text First, Talk Second’ Often Best Way to Contact Loved Ones When Disaster Strikes

IEMA Encourages People to Have Plan for Communicating
with Family Members, Friends during Emergencies

SPRINGFIELD – When disaster strikes, your first instinct probably is to call loved ones to make sure they’re OK or let them know you’re safe. It’s likely everyone else affected by the emergency is thinking the same thing.  In these instances, telephone lines can quickly become overloaded, preventing not only your call from going through but also blocking critical 911 calls.

During Severe Weather Preparedness Month in March, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is encouraging people to develop a Family Communications Plan that includes the “Text First, Talk Second” concept.

“Communicating with family and friends immediately after a disaster is important,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We’re encouraging people to plan now so they’ll know how to reach their contacts in the chaotic aftermath of a disaster.”

Joseph said short, simple text messages, such as “R U OK?” and “I’m OK,” are more likely to get through to your loved ones than a phone call when phone service is disrupted. As phone congestion eases, you can follow up with a phone call to relay more information.

Data-based services like texts and emails are less likely to experience network congestion during an emergency. You can also use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to post your status to let family and friends know you’re OK.

While Text-to-911 is on the horizon for emergency communications, it currently is available only in limited areas of the U.S. If you need to contact 911, do so by landline or cell phone unless your community has notified you that this service is activated in your area.

Additional emergency communications tips include:
• Keep all phone calls brief by conveying only vital information to emergency personnel and/or family.
• If you are unsuccessful in completing a call using your cell phone, wait ten seconds before redialing to help reduce network congestion.
• If you lose power, you can charge your cell phone in your car.  Be sure your car is in a well-ventilated place, not in a garage.
• Another resource for letting friends and family know your status after a disaster is the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well Registry at https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php
• Your communications plan should identify an out-of-area contact and household members should carry that information with them at all times. If a disaster occurs when you are separated, it often is easier to call outside your immediate area. Family members can call the contact to provide location and coordinate reunification plans.

For more information about developing a family communications plan, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 March 2015 15:16
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Written by John Dwyer   
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 07:15

National Weather Service Spotter Training

March 26, 2015
6:30 PM-9:00PM

Parkland College
2400 West Bradley Ave --- Room C118
(Park in lot C4, enter the building in the C1 doorway).

Campus map available at: http://www.parkland.edu/Media/Website%20Resources/PDF/maps/parkinglots.pdf

Topics Covered in the spotter training class include:
Spotter Safety
Thunderstorm Development and features
Types of Thunderstorms – especially those that impact Illinois
Types of Tornadoes, Landspouts and Gustnadoes
Non-tornadic severe weather (T-storm, Wind Gusts, Large Hail & Flooding)
Resources for Spotters
How and What Spotters Need to Report

If you have any questions please call the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency at 217-384-3826 or email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 March 2015 07:17
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Written by John Dwyer   
Friday, 27 February 2015 12:01

IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather

Tornadoes, floods and severe storms can happen any time of year

SPRINGFIELD – Believe it or not, warm weather soon will return to Illinois.  As exciting as that sounds, warmer temperatures also mean an increased potential for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding.

To help people prepare for severe weather, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will join with the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency management agencies throughout March to increase awareness of these severe weather hazards. 

“We can’t prevent dangerous storms from occurring,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph.  “However, there are ways to prepare to help you stay safe when severe weather strikes.  We encourage everyone to learn more about severe weather hazards, identify a safe place to go during storms, and assemble and maintain an emergency supply kit.  These actions could help save your life or the life of your loved ones.”

Joseph said Illinois experienced 48 tornadoes in 2014, which resulted in two injuries and nearly $5 million in damage to homes and crops.    In 2013, the state saw 54 tornadoes, including 25 twisters on Nov. 17, a vivid reminder that tornadoes and severe storms can happen anytime of the year.

“Although the typical peak time for severe storms in Illinois is April through June, events of the past three years have proven otherwise.” said Chris Miller, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln, Ill.  “Nearly half of all tornadoes in Illinois since January 2012 have occurred during the fall and winter months. This underscores just how important it is to be ‘Weather Ready’ all year in 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 or by calling (217) 785-9925.  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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Written by John Dwyer   
Friday, 20 February 2015 17:03

Snow and Freezing Rain to Impact Travel in Illinois
IDOT Crews Prepared to Battle Winter Weather this Weekend

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced today that a winter storm is expected to produce measurable snowfall and freezing rain in parts of Illinois tonight and Saturday, creating the possibility of hazardous travel conditions.

Motorists should expect slick roadways and be cautious when driving. Travel times are likely to be delayed, so motorists are encouraged to plan ahead, and allow plenty of extra time to travel. For statewide road conditions visit www.gettingaroundillinois.com.

“Our crews are prepared for this latest round of winter weather and will be working hard to clear the roads,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “Motorists can help us by driving only if it is necessary during winter storms and taking it slow on the roads.”

The National Weather Service expects the heaviest snowfall (4-6 inches forecast in some areas) to occur in the central part of the state, with freezing rain and accumulating ice likely in the southern part of the state. Icy conditions can create extremely dangerous driving conditions.

IDOT crews pretreated bridges, overpasses, and ramps all day Friday – these are most susceptible to icing. IDOT will have more than 1,700 trucks and 3,700 employees available statewide to battle the winter storm.

If you have to drive in a winter storm, don't crowd the plow. Give plow crews plenty of room to work – you might see them, but the plow drivers might not see you.

Illinois State Police ask motorists to drive at a safe speed, allow plenty of braking room and increase following distance, make sure your vehicle lights are functioning properly, move over for emergency vehicles that may be stopped to assist stranded motorists, and exit the road to a safe location if driving conditions become too hazardous.

“Illinois State Police are advising drivers to monitor weather conditions and to take the necessary steps to ensure their safety before heading out on potentially dangerous snow and ice covered roadways,” said ISP Operations Colonel Mike Zerbonia. ‘Drivers should reduce speeds, increase distances between vehicles and avoid sudden lane changes. Unless medical attention is required, drivers involved in crashes should exchange information to keep roads clear and avoid secondary collisions,” he added.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) encourages travelers to have a vehicle emergency kit that includes water, snack foods, flashlight, blanket, extra warm clothing, sand or kitty litter, shovel, windshield scraper with brush, and booster cables. More winter weather survival tips are available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

Winter driving tips to remember:

• Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary. If you have to make a trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.
• Take it slow, especially when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shady areas – all are prone to black ice, an invisible danger during some winter storms.
• Keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full.
• Always carry an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.
• Carry a cell phone and dial *999 in the Chicago area for roadway assistance in case of emergency. (Reminder: Using handheld phones while driving is illegal in Illinois if it is not an emergency situation.)
• Always wear a seat belt, whether you’re sitting in the front seat or back seat. It’s the law.
• Check road conditions before traveling.
o Road conditions are updated regularly at www.gettingaroundillinois.com. Click the Winter Road Conditions tab to see the statewide map.
o Information is available by phone at1-800-452-IDOT (4368) or 1-800-TOLL-FYI for Illinois Tollway travelers.


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