September is National Preparedness Month in Illinois
Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.
SPRINGFIELD – This year marks the 20th anniversary of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil. The events of that fateful day ignited a culture of preparedness which is now instilled in the fabric of our emergency response mechanism. National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning. Disasters don’t wait, and they can strike at anytime and anywhere. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), and local emergency managers, are encouraging Illinoisans to take time to prepare for potential emergencies at homes, at work, and in the community.
“This is the perfect time to prepare yourself and those you love for unexpected emergencies or disasters,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Preparedness is more than building a kit, it’s about communication, mitigation and education. While being prepared will not prevent a disaster, it will provide the foundation for an expedited recovery and instill the confidence to meet challenges when they arise.”
This year, residents are encouraged to consider COVID-19 guidelines when evaluating and improving their family emergency plan. Some things to consider include:
Make a Plan for When a Disaster Strikes: Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters (tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, etc.) could affect your area, and know how you will contact one another or reconnect if separated. How will your family adjust its routine should a member of your family require quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19? Plan today for different scenarios that could impact your work, school or family routine.
Build a Kit: Once a disaster strikes, you will not have time to shop or search for supplies, so it’s important to have supplies pre-assembled. A kit should contain basic survival items necessary during an emergency, such as food, water, weather radio, batteries, medication, supplies for each member of your family. It is also recommended that you include face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes in your emergency supply kit to address the current COVID-19 environment. Because a disaster can strike anywhere, Emergency kits should be kept at home, at work and in your car.
Prepare for Disasters: Limit the impacts that disasters have on you and your family. Learn how to make your home stronger in the wake of a storm or other hazards by implementing low-cost home improvement projects. Review your insurance policies to determine what would be covered in the event of a flood or storm. Also, practicing tornado drills and fire drills aren’t just for school. Walking through this procedure at home with your family, and at work with your co-workers, is a great way to prepare for a disaster.
Teach Youth how to Prepare for Disasters: Disaster planning, response, and recovery efforts should take into account the unique needs of children, who make up roughly a quarter of the U.S. population. Get kids involved in building their own emergency kit. Make sure to include your child's favorite stuffed animals, board games, books or music in their emergency kit to comfort them in a disaster. Ready Kids website has a variety of tools and information that can be incorporated into lesson planning for educators statewide.
IEMA offers disaster preparedness information on the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), a one-stop resource for detailed information about what to do before, during and after disasters. During large-scale disasters, IEMA uses the Ready Illinois website, Facebook and Twitter pages to provide critical information about the incident, including shelter locations, road closures, safety information, photos and more.
For more information about emergency and disaster preparedness
Will You Be Prepared If a Disaster Strikes?
July is financial preparedness month
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Will you be prepared if a disaster strikes? Reports indicate 40-percent of adults are not financially prepared to cover an unexpected expense of $400. A disaster or emergency can strike anytime, anywhere. In these stressful times, having access to personal financial, insurance, medical and other records is crucial for starting the recovery process quickly and efficiently.
Start by taking small steps. The best way to be financially prepared for a disaster is by saving. A rainy-day fund will allow you to invest in your safety by setting aside monthly for emergencies.
Operation HOPE can help strengthen your financial preparedness through the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK). The EFFAK can help you start to prepare by offering guidance on managing finances, offers insights on dealing with credit scores, and describes what to expect should a disaster strike your community. All of this will help families prepare for both the big incidents and minor emergencies.
Before a disaster strikes, review your insurance coverage. Insurance is the fastest way to recover after a disaster. Review the hazards that exist in your community (flood, tornado, earthquake, etc.) to ensure proper coverage. Homeowners and renters insurance do not typically cover flood damage. Talk to your agent to find out what is covered in your existing policy and ask about the availability of flood insurance. It is also recommended that you document your personal property with photographs to expedite future insurance claims.
Safeguard Critical Documents
Save digital copies of your household identification, financial and legal documents, medical information and insurance policies in order to quickly and safely access them in the event of an emergency or disaster. If you cannot save them digitally, gather all the documents store them in a safety deposit box. For more information on how you can reduce the financial impact of a disaster or emergency, visit https://www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness.
IEMA Shares Heat Safety Tips, Resources During Summer Safety Month
SPRINGFIELD – As the school year winds down, many families will be heading outdoors to enjoy their summer vacations. In Illinois, temperatures during the summer months can reach dangerous levels. Extreme heat can be particularly hazardous for children, seniors, those with special needs, and pets. This month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies throughout the state are offering tips to help people stay safe while enjoying the summer.
Last year, 24 children died from heatstroke after being left in hot cars and already one toddler has died in 2021. Heat can be more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults. Parents should develop a routine that will ensure the backseat is always checked before the car is locked, such as putting a purse, cell phone or other needed item in the back seat or consider opening the car’s back door every time the car is parked.
Summer’s extreme heat can also lead to heat-induced illnesses, including heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Remember to check in on family, friends, neighbors, the elderly and pets to ensure they are safe. When extreme heat strikes, limit your time outdoors, seek air conditioning and drink plenty of water.
To protect yourself and others, familiarize yourself with the following heat safety tips:
Know the terms used by the National Weather Service during extreme heat: Heat Wave, Excessive Heat Watch, Heat Advisory, Excessive Heat Warning, and Heat Index.
Do not leave children or pets in a closed vehicle, even for a few minutes. On a hot day, temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach 140ºF-190ºF within 30 minutes.
Make a special effort to check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are seniors, families with young children, people with special needs, or living alone.
Seniors and others who may be sensitive to extreme heat should contact friends, neighbors, or relatives periodically throughout the day.
Seek help if you feel symptoms of heat-related illnesses.
Stay out of the sun. If you must be in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and a wide-brimmed hat.
Stay in the shade or under awnings as much as possible.
Avoid overexertion and strenuous outdoor activities.
Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible to prevent sunburn.
To learn more about how to stay safe during the summer heat and how to treat heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion, visit ready.illinois.gov.
April is Youth Preparedness Month
IEMA, OSFM highlight ways to involve youth in disaster preparedness
Emergencies and disasters can happen at any time and anywhere. Disaster planning, response and recovery efforts should always take into account the unique needs of children, who make up roughly a quarter of the United States population. That is why this month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Office of the State Fire Marshal Office (OSFM) are taking steps to promote youth preparedness.
“Each year, millions of children are impacted by disasters,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Studies have shown, children are positive influencers in their households. Children can effectively bring the message of preparedness home to their families. Participating in youth preparedness programs empowers children to become leaders at home and in their schools and communities.” “Kids practice fire drills each year at school, and families should practice these drills at home too,” said Matt Perez, Illinois State Fire Marshal. “The Office of the State Fire Marshall encourages families to practice their home fire escape plan twice a year. Every home needs working smoke alarms and a well-thought-out fire escape plan. Make sure all members of your family can identify two ways out of each room and a family meeting spot outside the home.”
Tips for incorporating children into disaster preparedness:
Sparky the Fire Dog is mascot of The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Sparky is used to help educate kids and parents on fire prevention and safety. The NFPA has established a Sparky website and Facebook page that offers a wealth of age-appropriate games, videos, apps and other activities that make learning about fire safety easy and fun.
Another great resource comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA and the American Red Cross offer a disaster preparedness activity book, Prepare with Pedro. This booklet is designed to encourage youth and their families to be better prepared for disasters by offering safety advice alongside crosswords, coloring pages, matching games and more.
FEMA also offers a Youth Preparedness Council as an opportunity for teenagers and young adults to serve on a national council. During their two-year term, the youth leaders complete both a local and national-level project to share ideas regarding youth disaster preparedness.
Children who are prepared experience less anxiety and feel more confident during actual emergencies and disasters. Use Youth Preparedness Month as an opportunity to promote interactive activities within your family. One way to do this is by involving children in the development of a family emergency plan.
Use real world events to teach about emergency situations and disasters. Using media coverage of current disasters (Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, power outages), talk to children about how your family would respond if this happened to you. Utilizing your family emergency plan, discuss where would you go, what would you do and how you will ensure their safety during an emergency.
For more information about disaster preparedness, visit Ready.Illinois.gov.
March is Severe Weather Preparedness Month
SPRINGFIELD, IL – In Illinois, on any given week we could see blue skies, thunderstorms and torrential rainfall. The changing weather is second nature to many of us, but as the calendar flips from winter to spring, it is important to not become complacent about severe weather threats that exist in our state. As part of Severe Weather Preparedness Month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) have teamed up to publish a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide to help Illinoisans be better prepared when severe weather strikes.
“Making people aware of weather hazards and how to prepare for them, is just step one. Using the information and applying protective measures in an emergency takes practice. This month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is encouraging families, businesses, schools and communities to build a kit, practice your plan and be better prepared,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau.
The National Weather Service will be recognizing Severe Weather Preparedness Week during the week of March 1-5. During this week, Illinoisans are encouraged to:
• Make a severe weather preparedness plan
• Build an emergency preparedness kit
• Identify your safe place to during a storm
• Familiarize yourself the various weather watches/warnings/advisories The
National Weather Service (NWS) is responsible for issuing severe weather watches, warnings and advisories to alert the public when dangerous weather conditions are expected. Educating yourself and your family about these various terms, and the associated protective measures, can help keep you and your family safe. This year, the NWS added two new terms to this Severe Weather Preparedness Guide: Tornado Emergency and Flash Flood Emergency.
"It is so important to know the difference between a watch and warning when it comes to tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and floods." said Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln, Illinois. "In rare situations, an emergency can be issued for tornadoes and flash floods. This is when a confirmed, violent tornado or significant flood creates an imminent danger to life and property. Act immediately to save your life."
Thunderstorms can produce damaging winds, deadly lightning, large hail, flash flooding and tornadoes. On average, Illinois will see 53 tornadoes each year with nearly 20-percent occurring at night. For a number of reasons, tornadoes that occur at night are twice as likely to result in fatalities.
The National Weather Service and state and local emergency management officials strongly encourage people to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) All Hazards Weather Radio with battery backup. These radios can be programmed to receive alerts for specified counties to keep you and your family apprised of impending weather and post-event information for all types of hazards including natural (earthquakes), environmental (chemical spills) and public safety hazards (AMBER alerts). When an alert is issued for the programmed area, the device will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the essential information.
“The information provided in these alerts will guide you through the appropriate protective measures. Watches mean that severe weather or flooding might develop near your area over the next several hours. Be ready to act if storms approach. When a warning is issued, a storm has a history of producing damage or flooding, or is expected to develop in your area shortly. We are warning you to take action immediately,” said Miller.
In this day and age of families constantly on the go, it is also critical for people to have multiple ways to receive notifications and updated information about severe weather warnings. FEMA offers a FREE mobile app that provides fast and reliable weather alerts from the National Weather Service (NWS). The app can be tailored to offer alerts for up to five different locations nationwide. The mobile app can also help you locate open shelters and disaster resource centers near you in the event of an emergency.
In addition to NOAA weather radios, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) can provide lifesaving information about impending storms and emergencies. These alerts can be sent to your mobile device without the need to download an app or subscribe to a service. Not only are these tools critical to surviving overnight storms, but they can be extremely beneficial for those who travel.
For more information about what to do before, during and after a storm, please visit www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
Page 5 of 40