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Written by John Dwyer   
Friday, 31 October 2014 14:13


IEMA, National Weather Service, Local EMAs Encourage
People to Prepare for Winter Weather

November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – The winter of 2013-14 is one Illinois residents won’t soon forget. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the frigid temperatures and snowy weather experienced statewide made for the worst winter conditions in nearly 40 years. Chicago recorded the coldest December through March in its history, and temperatures statewide were the fourth coldest on record.

To help Illinois residents be prepared for winter weather this year, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) the NWS  and local emergency management agencies are encouraging people to begin preparing now for extreme cold, snow and ice. The organizations will highlight winter weather preparedness throughout November as part of their annual winter weather preparedness campaign.

“We all hope the winter of 2014-15 isn’t a repeat of last winter,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “But hope isn’t a plan. Winter weather in Illinois may be inevitable, but being prepared will help you handle whatever weather hazards Mother Nature throws our way this year.”

Monken said severe winter weather isn’t just inconvenient, it can be deadly. During the winter of 2013-14, 28 people died from exposure to extreme cold, the most in more than 25 years.

"The extreme, record-setting weather conditions in much of Illinois this past winter illustrated the importance of being prepared for snow, ice and cold temperatures" said Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS office in Lincoln. "It is much easier, and less costly, to prepare your vehicle and home for winter conditions now, rather than waiting until winter is upon us."

IEMA, the NWS and the American Red Cross developed a winter weather preparedness guide that covers winter weather terms and tips for staying safe at home, in the car and at school. The guide is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov or by calling 217-785-9925.


 
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Written by John Dwyer   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 09:36



IEMA Urges Illinois Residents to Join October 16 “Great ShakeOut” Earthquake Drill

Millions will “Drop, Cover and Hold on” in biggest emergency exercise in Illinois and U.S. history

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today urged Illinoisans to participate in the 4th Annual Great ShakeOut earthquake drill at 10:16 a.m., on Thursday, October 16. It is expected to be the largest earthquake drill in the history of Illinois and the United States.

“An earthquake can strike anywhere, at any time. The Great ShakeOut is designed to help residents think about what to do before, during and after an earthquake,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “The Great ShakeOut is an effective way for schools, businesses, families and others to practice the life-saving ‘Drop, Cover and Hold On’ procedures.”

Governor Pat Quinn has proclaimed October 16 as “Great ShakeOut Day” across Illinois, calling this drill “an effective, grass-roots approach to emergency planning” which has “helped millions of people understand what to do if the ground starts shaking.”

Individuals, schools, businesses and others can register for the Great ShakeOut at www.shakeout.org/centralus, where participants will find expert advice about earthquake preparedness, engaging videos and resource materials. It only takes a minute to register online in the Great ShakeOut and just seconds to participate in the drill itself, but the lessons could make a life-or-death difference. The drill focuses on the protective actions people should take when a quake begins:


• “Drop” to the floor;
• take “Cover” under a sturdy desk or table, and
• “Hold On” until the shaking stops.


Illinois has participated in ShakeOut drills since 2011. Last year, 523,000 Illinoisans took part in the exercise. To date, nearly 530,000 Illinoisans have registered for the upcoming event, along with more than 25 million others in 39 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Italy.

The largest earthquake ever to rattle North America occurred in 1811 in New Madrid, Missouri. If a similar quake struck the same spot today, the impact would be catastrophic and result in many fatalities and injuries, as well as severe damage or destruction to the region’s hospitals, roads, bridges, fuel pipelines and water infrastructure.
 
Most of southern Illinois sits atop one of two major fault zones - the New Madrid Seismic Zone and Wabash Valley Seismic Zone - but earthquakes have been felt throughout the state.

In recent years, Illinois has been slammed by natural calamities: floods, tornadoes, drought and blizzards. On IEMA’s website - www.Ready.Illinois.gov - residents can find tips for emergency planning, such as building a survival kit, creating escape routes and family reunification plans, and caring for pets.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 October 2014 09:37
 
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Written by John Dwyer   
Thursday, 09 October 2014 14:27


October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month


IEMA joins nationwide effort to keep people safe online


SPRINGFIELD – Thanks to smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, the Internet is almost always at our fingertips. Combined with computers and laptops in homes, schools and workplaces, it’s easy to see how Americans reportedly spend an average of 23 hours per week online. While the Internet provides almost limitless opportunities, it also creates risks that can range from mere inconveniences to serious threats such as identity theft, harassment and child endangerment.

Throughout October, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is joining with local emergency management agencies to promote National Cyber Security Awareness Month, a nationwide effort to increase awareness of online risks and what people can do to prevent problems.

“The Internet is part of our everyday life,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “Mobile devices make it easier than ever to shop, search for information, communicate with friends and family and more. It’s critical that everyone who uses the Internet understands the potential risks and takes steps to protect their personal information.”

Monken said basic tips for staying safe on the Internet include:
• Set strong passwords and don’t share them with anyone.
• Keep your operating system, browser and other critical software optimized by installing updates.
• Maintain an open dialogue with your family, friends and community about Internet safety.
• Limit the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely.
• Be cautious about what you receive or read online. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

For more online safety tips, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov. In addition to cyber safety information, the website is a one-stop location for information about disaster preparedness, what to do during a disaster and steps for recovery after a disaster.

 
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Written by John Dwyer   
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 08:35


Letter-to-the-Editor

“Join October 16 Earthquake Drill: Drop, Cover and Hold On!”

Dear Editor,

 The largest earthquake ever to rattle North America occurred in 1811 in New Madrid, Missouri, near southern Illinois. If a similar quake struck the same spot today - according to a 2008 University of Illinois study - the impact would be catastrophic: 3,500 fatalities, 2.6 million people without electricity, $300 billion in direct economic losses. The region’s hospitals, roads, bridges, fuel pipelines and water infrastructure would be in shambles.
 
 Most of southern Illinois sits atop one of two major fault zones - the New Madrid Seismic Zone and Wabash Valley Seismic Zone - but as recently as 2010, the Sandwich Fault Zone in northern Illinois rumbled. A quake can happen anywhere, at any time.

 That’s why I invite every Illinois resident, school and business to pause on October 16 at 10:16 a.m., to join the “world’s largest earthquake drill”, during which millions of people will practice the life-saving “Drop, Cover and Hold On” procedure.

 The 4th Annual Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is a grass-roots emergency preparedness drill designed to help residents think about what to do before, during and after an earthquake. The drill focuses on the protective actions we should take when a quake begins:
• “Drop” to the floor;
• take “Cover” under a sturdy desk or table, and
• “Hold On” until the shaking stops.

 You can register for the drill at www.shakeout.org/centralus, where you will find expert advice about earthquake preparedness. It only takes a minute to register online for the Great ShakeOut and just seconds to participate in the drill itself, but the lessons learned could make a life-or-death difference.
-more-
 In recent years, Illinois has been slammed by natural calamities: floods, tornadoes, drought, blizzards. On the state’s preparedness website - www.Ready.Illinois.gov - residents can find tips for emergency planning, such as building a survival kit, creating escape routes and family reunification plans, and caring for pets.

 Last year, 523,000 Illinoisans participated in the Great ShakeOut, the largest emergency drill in our State’s history. Be part of the 2014 ShakeOut. Register today.

Sincerely,


Jonathon Monken
Director
Illinois Emergency Management Agency

 
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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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