State Agencies Encourage People to Prepare for Winter Weather
November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – While the official start of winter is not for several weeks, those in Illinois know that winter weather is inevitable. Knowing what to do before a winter storm strikes can provide peace of mind and ultimately impact how well we respond and recover from any winter storm. To help Illinois residents be prepared for winter weather, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and National Weather Service (NWS) developed a Winter Weather Preparedness Guide to help families prepare for extreme cold, snow and ice.
“Being unprepared for winter weather is not only inconvenient, but it can be dangerous,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “We are encouraging all Illinoisans to take a few minutes to put together your home and vehicle emergency supply kits and review the steps you should take to stay safe during hazardous winter weather.”
A study published in 2020 by the University of Illinois Chicago found that nearly 95-percent of temperature related deaths in Illinois were due to cold weather. According to the NWS, the coldest temperature on record occurred on January 31, 2019 when the mercury dropped to negative 38 degrees near Mt. Carroll in Carroll County. The previous record of negative 36 degrees was set in 1999.
Being in the cold too long can cause serious health problems. Hypothermia, or a drop in the body’s core temperature, does not require sub-arctic temperatures and can set in when you are indoors and outdoors. Hypothermia is especially dangerous and can be fatal if not detected promptly and treated properly. Frostbite occurs when your extremities (fingers, toes, nose, and ears) are exposed to cold weather. The skin may become stiff and numb leading to severe tissue damage. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation.
Take Precautions When Working Outside
“Many Illinois workers, such as first-responders, public works crews and construction workers, will have to brave the outdoor elements this winter to do their jobs.” said Illinois Department of Labor Director Michael Kleinik. “It is vital for these workers to prepare ahead for severe conditions. Proper clothing is a must but making sure your body is ready for the added stress is also important.”
Hospital emergency rooms see an increase in cardiac incidents each winter. The frigid cold causes your body to go into protection mode, narrowing blood vessels. That can increase strain on the heart for those doing hard physical labor. Preventative maintenance is a good idea. Medical professionals encourage people who must work outside regularly in the winter weather consider scheduling a physical exam before that winter work begins.
Common sense and self-awareness are the keys to winter weather safety. Workers should know the signs of hypothermia, not push their bodies to an extreme, layer clothing and make sure they have plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
Recognize Home Heating Dangers
Every year, more than 400 people die in the U.S. from accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.
“Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths with half of home heating fires occurring during the months of December, January and February. That is why it’s so important to have your furnace, wood burning stoves, fireplaces and chimneys inspected and cleaned by licensed professionals every year. Test all smoke and CO alarms in the homes monthly and replace expired or broken alarms. Having these heating devices checked and serviced will help prevent fires and tragedies from occurring in our communities this winter,” said State Fire Marshal Matt Perez.
Ice and Snow, Take it Slow
Preparing for winter also means adjusting your driving habits. Snowy or ice-coated roads and reduced visibility due to fog or blowing snow results in thousands of motor vehicle crashes every year in Illinois. Many of these crashes can be avoided by slowing down on city streets, rural roads and highways. Traffic studies have shown that many times, minor accumulations of snow or ice on roads can be just as dangerous for motorists as major snowstorms.
“As we head into winter, the preparations and planning you do today can save your life in the months ahead,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Pack an emergency kit to store in your vehicle. Build extra time in your schedules if you are driving this winter. Give our plows and workers room to do their jobs. And always be asking yourself when the forecast calls for snow and ice: Is this trip really necessary?”
For the latest road conditions and other travel information, bookmark and follow IDOT’s www.GettingAroundIllinois.com throughout the year.
Keep in mind, being prepared for winter doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. It could be as simple as making sure your vehicle is in good winter driving condition, adding a winter survival kit to your car, changing your furnace filter at home and stocking or updating your family’s emergency supply kit. Take time now to prepare your family, home, vehicles and driving habits for everything from a dusting of snow to a major winter storm.
For more information about winter weather preparedness, including the Weathering Winter guide from the Illinois Department of Public Health, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
Community Based COVID-19 testing is now available at Market
Place Shopping Center (2000 N. Neil Street Champaign, IL)
Testing site is located in the parking lot on the East side of the mall - Enter through the South mall entrance off of Market Street.
8:00am – 4:00pm (7 days a week while daily supplies last)
All individuals with symptoms are encouraged to seek testing at the Community-Based Testing
Sites (CBTS). Additional accommodations have been made for the following individuals with or
without COVID-like symptoms:
Employees of Correctional Facilities
Individuals exposed to confirmed COVID-19 patients
Employees that support Critical Infrastructure (grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, gas
stations, public utilities, factories, childcare and sanitation)
All local and state government employees
Individuals with compromised immune systems, chronic medical conditions
Definition of symptoms - fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
This is a FREE service that can be obtained without a doctor’s referral or code. While this is a free service, you will be asked to show 1) photo identification and 2) healthcare employee or first responder ID/badge, if applicable.
The test is self-administered, quick and painless with a 10-15 second swab inside of each nostril.
Patients utilizing drive-thru testing sites must be seated at a functioning window. Once you get in line at the CBTS, you will not be permitted to exit your car. For the safety of the testing personnel, drive-thru sites will not be able to accommodate walk-up individuals.
Please note - Patients receiving required pre-surgery or pre-procedure testing should receive that test as directed by their doctor’s office to avoid delays.
Note - According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the self-administered nasal swab has the same sensitivity to detect coronavirus as the nasopharyngeal swab. The nasal swab is also CDC approved.
Champaign, Urbana, and Champaign County Leaders
Issue COVID-19 Statement
As local government leaders, our top priorities are the health, safety, and welfare of our residents, visitors, and employees. We know COVID-19 (coronavirus) will impact our community. While the full extent remains uncertain, we know that we must all take immediate steps to slow the spread of the virus today.
Our government agencies are also working to ensure that the delivery of essential public services continues. We are taking all necessary steps to make sure we continue to deliver critical police, fire, and emergency dispatch services and maintain public infrastructure. Our agencies have taken measures to appropriately equip our first responders to protect themselves and those they serve. We continue to work closely with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District to make sure the public has accurate and up-to-date information.
Government leaders and public health officials across Champaign County remain in constant communication to ensure we are addressing this concern together. We call on all members of our community to join us in taking any and all measures possible to slow the spread of this virus. Some actions you can take include:
• Follow public health guidelines regarding proper hygiene
• Stay home if you are ill
• Avoid large public gatherings.
We are also deciding which government-sponsored events and meetings will be postponed or canceled in order to reduce public exposure to the virus. For information about cancelations of city or county meetings please visit our respective websites: champaignil.gov, urbanaillinois.us, or co.champaign.il.us.
For more detailed information, we encourage our community to consult reputable sources of information, including the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Facebook page or the Illinois Department of Public Health or Centers for Disease Control websites.
The situation is continuously changing and we ask for your patience as we work to slow the spread of this virus and provide essential services to the community. We will provide updates on our Facebook pages and websites.
Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen, City of Champaign
Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin, City of Urbana
County Executive Darlene Kloeppel, Champaign County
National Weather Service Lincoln IL
1137 AM February 21, 2020
THE NOAA WEATHER RADIO TRANSMITTER IN CHAMPAIGN ILLINOIS WILL
BE OUT OF SERVICE FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME
The NOAA Weather Radio station, WXJ-76 in Champaign, Illinois broadcasting on a frequency of 162.550 MHz that serves east- central Illinois, will be out of service for an extended period of time, effective immediately.
This outage is due to a damaged coaxial cable, which connects the radio transmitter to the antenna. To prevent future damage to cabling, which could result in additional future long-term outages, a new tower location must be secured. The station will remain offline as the National Weather Service (NWS) works to relocate the radio transmitter to a new tower.
We have started the process of identifying possible new tower locations for the transmitter.
Once a new tower site is identified and a lease agreement is in place, we will install the transmitter and antenna, and begin system testing to ensure the signal is performing at an optimal level. While the entire process county take up to six months, we are working to get the NOAA Weather Radio broadcast online as soon as possible.
For access to NOAA Weather Radio during the outage, tune-in to one of our nearby NOAA Weather Radio stations:
* Champaign County, unfortunately, is not covered by
another weather radio. This is especially true for the
cities of Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy. However, the
following areas of the county might be able to hear
certain weather radios. Northwest...KZZ-65 in
Bloomington, IL (162.525 MHz or channel 6 on your weather
radio). Northeast...KXI-86 in Crescent City, IL (162.500
MHz or channel 5). Southeast...KXI-47 in Paris, IL
(162.525 MHz or channel 6). Due to limited coverage,
these weather radios will not be tone alerted for
* Coles, Douglas and Edgar counties can receive severe
weather warnings on station KXI-47 in Paris, IL (162.525
MHz or channel 6 on your weather radio)
* DeWitt County is covered by KZZ-65 in Bloomington, IL
(162.525 MHz or channel 6). Residents of southwest DeWitt
County are also covered by WXJ-75 in Springfield, IL
(162.400 MHz or channel 1)
* Ford County is covered by WXK-24 in Odell, IL (162.450
MHz or channel 3) for all but southeast Ford County.
There is also coverage from KXI-86 in Crescent City, IL
(162.500 MHz or channel 5) for all but southwest Ford
* Northeast Macon County is covered by KZZ-65 in
Bloomington, IL (162.525 MHz or channel 6).
* Moultrie County is covered by station KXI-46 near
Shelbyville, IL (162.500 MHz or channel 5)
* Piatt County (Northern half roughly) is covered by KZZ-65
in Bloomington, IL (162.525 MHz or channel 6).
* Northern Vermilion County is covered by KXI-86 in
Crescent City (162.500 MHz or channel 5). The rest of
Vermilion County is covered by KZZ-27 in Newport, IN
(162.425 MHz or channel 2)
As always, we HIGHLY recommend that people have multiple ways to receive
weather warnings and information. Forecasts, watches and warnings for
Central Illinois can also be found on:
* NWS Lincoln webpage: www.weather.gov/Lincoln
* Mobile device: mobile.weather.gov
* Facebook: www.facebook.com/NWSLincoln
* Twitter: twitter.com/NWSLincolnIL
* AlertSense: A service provided by Champaign County can
relay emergency alerts and weather warnings via text
message to cell phones and email to any email address.
These alerts are provided free of charge, however
standard text messaging rates and other charges may
apply. To sign-up, go to: https://public.alertsense.com/SignUp/?regionid=1157
* Smart Phones: Most smart phone users receive Tornado
Warnings and Flash Flood Warnings from the National
Weather Service through the Wireless Emergency Alerts
technology provided by nearly all cell phone providers.
This feature is enabled on most cellular devices, with no
setup or software to download. The emergency messages
are broadcast through cell towers at no cost to the
We will provide updates on the status of the Central Illinois NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter through Public Information Statements as more Information becomes available.
February is Earthquake Preparedness Month in Illinois
February 04, 2020
SPRINGFIELD, IL – While some hazards such as storms, tornadoes and floods can be forecasted in order to provide advance noticed to residents in an area of danger, other hazards such as earthquakes cannot be predicted. Recent earthquakes in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean are perfect examples that earthquakes can happen anywhere and at any time, including while you are at work, at home or on vacation. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that 500,000 detectable earthquakes occur in the world each year. The National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) locates about 20,000 earthquakes each year, or about 55 earthquakes each day.
Records indicate Illinois, and several other states in the central United States, experienced some of the largest earthquakes ever measured in North America. In recognition of the earthquake risk still posed today by the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies will promote earthquake preparedness throughout February.
“Creating an environment of education, awareness and preparedness will save lives in Illinois,” said Alicia Tate-Nadeau, Acting Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. “While we cannot predict when the next major quake will occur, we can help people learn how to protect themselves and reduce damage to their homes.”
Learning how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” can help people prevent injury during an earthquake. The phrase reminds people to drop down to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and hold on to that object and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends. Most casualties result from falling objects and debris caused by the earth shaking.
There are several steps people can take to help prevent injuries and property damage at home, including:
•Strapping water heaters and large appliances to wall studs
•Anchoring overhead light fixtures
•Fastening shelves to wall studs and securing cabinet doors with latches
•Strapping TVs, computers and other heavy equipment to prevent tipping
•Learning how to shut off gas, water and electricity in case the lines are damaged
Each year the Illinois Emergency Management Agency leads an initiative to register homes, businesses, schools and organizations in the world’s largest earthquake drill. This year’s earthquake drill will take place on Thursday, October 15 at 10:15 a.m. It’s never too early to register your participation in this potentially life-saving event. Register today at www.shakeout.org.
Learn more about how you can prepare your home, business and family for an earthquake at www.Ready.Illinois.gov. Earthquake safety tips will also be posted throughout February on the Ready Illinois Facebook (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/ReadyIllinois) pages.
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