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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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Written by John Dwyer   
Monday, 09 February 2015 12:41

IEMA Encourages People to Prepare for Earthquakes

January 30, 2015

February 7 is anniversary of devastating quake in New Madrid zone

SPRINGFIELD – Some of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in North America rocked the mostly rural Central U.S. between December 1811 and February 1812, including parts of southern Illinois. The strongest earthquakes in this series were estimated to be around magnitude 8.0, and were felt as far away as the East Coast. ​

Today, this multi-state region is heavily populated and highly developed.  A similar earthquake now would cause widespread devastation to buildings, utilities, roads, bridges and other infrastructure, as well as result in many injuries and deaths.  While damage would be less severe in other parts of Illinois, utility outages, road closures and disruptions to deliveries of essential supplies would significantly impact the lives of most Illinoisans.  

Recognizing this serious risk, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies will promote earthquake preparedness throughout February.

“Southern Illinois is adjacent to two earthquake zones, so the risk of a major earthquake is very real,” said IEMA Acting Director Joe Klinger.  “We can’t predict when the next devastating earthquake will occur, but we can help people learn how to protect themselves and reduce damage to their homes.”

Klinger said people need to remember to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” when they feel the ground shaking.  The phrase prompts people to “Drop” down to the floor, take “Cover” under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and “Hold On” to the furniture item and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends. ​

There are several steps people can take to help prevent injuries and property damage at home, including:

•Strapp​ing water heaters and large appliances to wall studs
•Anchoring overhead light fixtures
•Fastening shelves to wall studs and securing cabinet doors with latches
•Learning how to shut off gas, water and electricity in case the lines are damaged

For additional earthquake preparedness information, visit www.Ready.Illinois.gov or follow IEMA on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois​).​

Last Updated on Friday, 20 February 2015 17:01
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Written by John Dwyer   
Monday, 12 January 2015 13:27

If you are stuck/stranded in a vehicle do not tie a ribbon-like object to your antenna or car door to attract attention.

Both Champaign County Sheriff's Office and the Illinois State Police affix a ribbon-like banner to the antenna or car door handle to indicate that the vehicle has been checked by police.

 Whether or not you should stay in your car or seek refuge depends upon many individual factors including weather, geography and the physical abilities of occupants.

 If you do stay in your vehicle turn on your flashers, be sure your tail pipe exhaust is clear & monitor your fuel consumption.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 February 2015 17:01
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Written by John Dwyer   
Monday, 05 January 2015 08:43

IEMA Encourages People to Resolve to be Prepared in 2015

Will Highlight Preparedness, Safety Topics Each Month

SPRINGFIELD – Each year, millions of people around the world welcome the start of a new year by making personal resolutions.  The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies throughout Illinois are encouraging people to ‘Resolve to be Ready’ for emergencies in 2015, and will offer year-long support to help people attain the goal of better preparedness for themselves, their families and their workplaces. 

“While many of us make earnest resolutions aimed at improving some aspect of our lives, our resolve can wane just weeks into the new year,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken.  “We’re going to provide continuing support throughout the year by offering information and tips to help people stick to their resolution. I encourage everyone to join us and ‘Resolve to be Ready’ in 2015.”
Monken said IEMA will focus on a different preparedness or safety topic each month in 2015, including earthquakes, severe weather, pets, school and campus, cyber security and more. 

One of the first steps toward emergency preparedness is having an emergency supply kit stocked with basic survival items that are critical during an emergency, such as:
• One gallon of water per person per day (a minimum of a three-day supply)
• At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
• First-aid kit
• Battery-operated radio, flashlight and extra batteries
• Items for children, seniors, pets and household members with health or medical needs

IEMA maintains the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), a one-stop location for preparedness information on a variety of hazards.  In addition to information about steps people can take before emergencies happen, the Ready Illinois website also provides guidance on what to do during and after a disaster. 

Preparedness information is also available through the Ready Illinois Facebook (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois) pages.


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