March is Severe Weather Preparedness Month
Springfield -Illinois averages 53 tornadoes per year, which means you should grab your dog Toto and be prepared for tornadoes and severe weather. March is Severe Weather Preparedness Month and a good time to plan ahead, especially with the severe weather here in Illinois.
"From heavy snowfall to dangerous winds, everyone in Illinois should be prepared for adverse conditions," said Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. "Last week, Illinois saw multiple tornadoes throughout the state, followed by unseasonably-warm temperatures, and now we're getting ready for snow and potential flooding."
Illinois ranks fourth in the United States for the most tornadoes per square mile.
Communities across the state are also susceptible to flooding as it is the most common natural hazard in the U.S. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), just 1 inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage in your home.
Severe weather preparedness includes gathering information and supplies to prepare for a loss of electricity or if you must, evacuate from your neighborhood. That's why IEMA offers a Family Communications Plan to help people map locations to meet and track important contact information.
IEMA also recommends that you:
Keep all important records and documents in a secure waterproof container
Make an inventory of possessions using lists and photos/videos
Insure your property and possessions
Know how to shut off electricity, gas, and water
Compile an emergency kit and "go bag" to help your family for at least three days during extended power outages or evacuations
In case power is out, make sure flashlights with fresh batteries are ready
Generators should only be run outside, never indoors or in enclosed spaces
A good resource for planning can be downloaded for free at: www2.illinois.gov/ready/plan/Pages/FamilyPlan.aspx
Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA): www.Ready.Illinois.gov
Shake Shake Shake – Earthquake Awareness Month and the Great ShakeOut Drill
February 01, 2023
SPRINGFIELD – February is Earthquake Awareness Month and a perfect time to sign up for the international ShakeOut Drill in October. Schools, workplaces, and individuals are encouraged to sign up for the October 19, 2023 Great ShakeOut Day to reinforce the information promoted this month. It’s also a good time to find out if you are insured for earthquake damage.
“Illinois sits between the New Madrid Fault Zone and the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone,” explained Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “I want everyone to understand the risks and know what to do if we have a significant earthquake.”
Drop, Cover, and Hold On! is the best way to keep safe to earthquakes. The phrase reminds people to:
Drop down to the floor,
Take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture,
Hold on to that object until the shaking ends.
“Check your personal preparedness kits, review your family AND work emergency plans,” said Tate-Nadeau. “Update your emergency contact information and designate a safe space where you can shelter during an earthquake.”
If you use a cane: Drop, Cover, and Hold On or sit on a chair, bed, etc…and cover your head and neck with both hands. Keep your cane near so it can be used when the shaking stops.
If you use a walker or wheelchair: Lock your wheels (if applicable). If using a walker carefully get as low as possible. Bend over and Cover your head/neck with your arms, a book, or a pillow. Then Hold On until the shaking stops.
Another major consideration is earthquake insurance.
“Standard homeowners insurance policies generally do not cover damage due to earthquakes,” said Illinois Department of Insurance Director Dana Popish Severinghaus. “However, Illinois consumers can purchase earthquake coverage as an endorsement to their existing homeowner’s policy. Like other types of insurance, costs for coverage will vary depending on the home’s structure, age, location, and the possible risk of an earthquake occurring in the area.”
Homeowners should discuss more with their insurance agent on adding earthquake insurance.
Last year, the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut registered over 2.1 million participants. For anyone interested in practicing earthquake safety, you can join the Central U.S. earthquake preparedness effort on October 19, 2023 at 10:19 a.m. (CDT) for the Great ShakeOut Drill. Learn more about the Great ShakeOut Drill and register your participation at https://www.shakeout.org/centralus/.
More information on earthquake preparedness can be found at https://iema.illinois.gov/preparedness/earthquake.html
January is 'Radon Action Month' in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD - Radon is a naturally-occurring element which is undetectable from human senses. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is urging residents to take time in January to test their home for radon as part of 2023 Radon Action Month.
"This odorless, colorless, tasteless gas is found in the air we breathe in buildings, homes, offices," said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. "If not properly addressed, high levels of radon can cause major health concerns."
It's estimated more than 1,100 people in Illinois develop radon-related lung cancer each year. Radon tests can be purchased at most hardware and department stores. It is recommended to conduct one short-term test and one long-term test to ensure consistent readings. Should you find higher readings, you should contact IEMA for information about a licensed mitigation professional who are trained to reduce radon levels.
The IEMA and the Lung Association in Illinois are announcing the continuation of two statewide contests that encourage students to use their creative talents to promote radon awareness among young people. The Radon Video Contest asks Illinois high school students to create a 30-second commercial style video, while the Radon Poster Contest asks middle school students to create a poster that will encourage people to test their homes for radon.
"Radon is responsible for an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year and is the leading cause of lung cancer in people who have never smoked. Since radon is odorless, tasteless and colorless, the only way to detect radon in your home is to test the air. This is why it is critical for everyone to test their home," said Angela Tin, National Senior Director of Clean Air Initiatives for the American Lung Association. "This contest is a perfect way for everyone to learn more about this dangerous gas and take action to protect yourself and your loved ones."
All contest prizes are funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Both contests are sponsored by IEMA, Lung Association, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5.
The top posters and videos from the 2022 state contests can be viewed on IEMA's radon website at www.radon.illinois.gov. The website also includes information about radon and lists of licensed measurement and mitigation professionals. Information is also available through IEMA's Radon Hotline at 800-325-1245.
IEMA, ISFM, IDOL, and National Weather Service team up with Winter Weather Preparedness Tips
SPRINGFIELD – Whether you’re at work, commuting, or at home, being ready for harsh, frigid storms can lead comfort and even survival. November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month, and Nov. 7-11 is Winter Weather Preparedness Week. The week will culminate in a social media contest for Illinois residents.
“This is the ideal time to get ready for snow, ice, and brutal cold because Illinois weather can be pleasant one day, and a winter storm the next day,” said Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau.
“Each winter season, nearly 29,000 vehicle crashes occur in Illinois, producing 4,500 injuries and 80 fatalities. That is why it is imperative that people plan ahead and prepare for winter weather impacts,” added National Weather Service (NWS) Central Illinois Warning Coordination Meteorologist Edward Shimon. State agencies have winter weather advice for people in the home and those at work, and the NWS has broken down preparedness topics to make it easy to prepare.
“Cold winter temperatures mean some Illinoisans will be using supplemental heating devices such as space heaters to stay warm. It’s important to follow the manufactures instructions, only use devices with an automatic shut off, and keep heating devices at least 3 feet from anything that can burn,” said Acting Illinois State Fire Marshal Dale Simpson. “It’s important to check your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors monthly to ensure they are working. If you need to use a generator during a power outage, only use them outdoors and away from windows.”
“Many frontline workers in Illinois are called upon to perform their duties in winter weather, facing environmental cold and other dangers and potentially putting their lives at risk. It is critical for employers and employees alike to prepare ahead of time and make winter safety a priority to minimize risks associated with winter weather hazards,” said Illinois Department of Labor Director Jane Flanagan. “Employers should ensure that individuals who work outdoors, from baggage handlers to construction workers, know the risk factors and warning signs of cold stress.”
Illinois is vulnerable to severe winter weather. The greatest snowfall on record from a single storm was 27.9 inches measured near Waukegan in Lake County, from January 3-5, 2015. Average annual snowfall ranges from 37 inches of snow in Rockford and Chicago, to as little as 6 to 10 inches at the southern tip of Illinois.
The NWS recommends that you spend time each day next week to learn more about one aspect of winter weather preparedness:
Monday, Nov. 7: Terminology—knowing the differences between a blizzard warning, winter storm warning, ice storm warning, winter weather advisory, etc.
Tuesday, Nov. 8: Ice and ice safety – Wide ranging impacts of ice storms, potential for power outages in winter cold, etc.
Wednesday, Nov. 9: Snow and snow safety – How much snow can cause slippery roads, what blizzard conditions entails, etc.
Thursday, Nov. 10: Extreme cold and wind chill safety – Discover how quickly hypothermia can set in, how to recognize the signs of frostbite, etc.
Friday, Nov. 11: Travel—having a plan and getting information (gettingaroundillinois.com), vehicle preparedness for both optimal operation and a winter storm kit if stranded: Cell phone and charger Blankets or sleeping bags Extra clothing Jumper cables Flashlight Extra batteries Extra water High-calorie, non-perishable food
View more winter preparedness tips.
On Friday, Nov. 11, IEMA is asking residents to “Show Us Your Trunk.” On that day, IEMA will share social media posts of photos of residents who have prepared a winter weather emergency bag for their vehicles. Two winners will be given NOAA weather radios, which will give those residents a direct link to the latest weather information.
More information on winter weather preparedness can be found on IEMA's website or at NWS.
October Is Cyber Security Awareness Month
Cyber criminals want to “trick to click”
- Choose long, complicated, and different passwords for each application
- Use multi-factor authentication
- Regularly update computer software
- Use a critical eye on all emails
- If something looks strange, don’t click it and immediately report any phishing attempts
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