IEMA, ALAIL Release Video to Help Real Estate Agents Inform Home Buyers about Radon Risks
Will help sellers comply with Illinois Radon Awareness Act
SPRINGFIELD – Real estate professionals and home sellers in Illinois have a new tool to help them meet state legal requirements regarding radon in homes. A three-minute video developed by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALAIL) is now available to ensure home buyers receive information about radon as required by the Illinois Radon Awareness Act.
The act, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2008, requires home sellers to provide anyone buying a home, condominium or other residential property in Illinois with information about indoor radon exposure and the fact that radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause overall.
The law doesn’t require homes be tested for radon prior to the sale or that radon remediation work be conducted if test results show high levels of radon. However, if a radon test has been conducted on the home, those results must be provided to the buyer.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep into homes from the soil beneath the foundation. It’s estimated more than 1,100 people in Illinois develop radon-related lung cancer each year, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes radon as the leading cause of home-related deaths in the U.S.
“With more than 100,000 home purchases each year in Illinois, the Radon Awareness Act has significantly increased public awareness of radon hazards and how that risk can be reduced through installation of a radon reduction system,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “This video is a quick, simple way for real estate agents and home sellers to provide this important required information.”
The video, “Homebuyer’s Guide: What you need to know about radon and your new home,” is available on the IEMA website at www.radon.illinois.gov and on the ALAIL website at www.healthhouse.org. Additional information about radon is also available on those websites.
“We spend a majority of time in our homes and since radon is the leading cause of death in the home, it’s important to know what levels are present,” said Angela Tin, Vice President Environmental Health of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest.
January was proclaimed Radon Action Month in Illinois by Governor Bruce Rauner to encourage residents to test their homes for radon.
Governor Rauner Proclaims January ‘Radon Action Month’
IEMA, ALA launch initiative to help school districts test buildings for radon
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner has proclaimed January ‘Radon Action Month’ in Illinois to encourage residents to test their homes for radon, a radioactive gas that is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. To kick off the month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALAIL) today announced a statewide initiative to help Illinoisschool districts screen school buildings for radon.
It’s estimated more than 1,100 people in Illinois develop radon-related lung cancer each year, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes radon as the leading cause of home-related deaths in the U.S.
IEMA, the ALAIL also are joining with Southern Illinois University (SIU) Medicine in January to increase public awareness of radon risks and ways to reduce radon exposure, as well as to enhance understanding of this health hazard within the medical community.
As part of the school initiative, districts throughout Illinois can receive radon detection equipment, assistance with developing a radon testing plan and guidance on radon detector placement within school buildings. To participate in the program, designated school district employees must complete an online training course on procedures for performing screening measurements in their district school buildings.
IEMA and the ALAIL will work with participating school districts on development of a quality assurance project plan and a final report, as well as providing guidance for placement of measurement devices in one school building in each district.
“State law encourages school districts to test buildings for radon every five years,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “This program will provide the equipment and guidance schools need so they can conduct the tests themselves and save the cost of professional testing.”
The initiative is similar to a pilot program launched in 2011 that assisted 56 schools in 17 districts with testing more than 2,500 rooms for radon. IEMA found 70 percent of the buildings had radon levels above 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L), which is the level at which radon remediation efforts are recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Only eight percent of the total classrooms tested had levels above 4 pCi/L, which would be expected as radon tends to be an issue only in isolated areas of most school buildings.
In many cases, radon levels in schools can be lowered through modifications to the heating and air conditioning systems, while a professional radon mitigation contractor may be needed to address elevated radon levels in other schools.
The ALAIL will deliver radon detectors to participating schools and assist designated school personnel with testing protocol and detector placement. Cost for the detectors and ALAIL’s work will be supported by an IEMA grant funded through the federal State Indoor Grant Program.
“Americans spend almost 90 percent of their time indoors,” said John De Rosa, Environmental Program Director, ALAIL. “It’s important that we are safe at home, at school and where we work. This program provides a low-cost opportunity to keep both teachers and students safe from the dangers of radon gas.”
School districts interested in participating in the program should contact Kallie Sinkus at
IEMA today also recognized Tracey Smith, DNP, of SIU Medicine with the 2016 Illinois Excellence in Radon Award. Smith is the director of Population Health Integration and Population Health Education for SIU Health and the Department of Family and Community Medicine, as well as an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She has worked with IEMA to educate medical school staff and students on the risks of radon exposure. She also supervised the development of the first online continuing medical education course on radon available nationally.
A display on radon risks, testing and mitigation currently is on display in the SIU medical library to educate medical students and medical professionals about the naturally occurring health hazard. In addition, IEMA radon program staff will provide a presentation on radon during a “Lunch and Learn” for SIU employees on Jan. 27 in the medical library.
Addressing the impact radon has on health, Tracey Smith noted, “We are aware that where a person lives affects their health more than what we often do in the health care setting. It has been well-documented that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco for those who smoke and the leading cause of lung cancer for those who are non-smokers. Therefore, as we provide training to future health care providers on how to provide general preventive messages to patients to reduce the risk of cancer, we must include education on the impact of radon exposure on lung cancer risk.”
IEMA Encourages People to ‘Resolve to be Prepared’
Will Highlight Preparedness, Safety Topics Each Month in 2017
SPRINGFIELD – Each year, 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 2017. The agencies will offer year-long support to help people attain the goal of better preparedness for themselves and their families.
“Being prepared for emergencies involves understanding the types of hazards you may experience and then taking steps that will help you stay safe and quickly recover if a disaster occurs,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We’re encouraging people to work toward better preparedness throughout the year, so by the end of 2017 they will be prepared to handle whatever emergencies they experience.”
Joseph said IEMA will help people increase their personal preparedness by focusing on a different preparedness or safety topic each month during 2017, including severe weather, earthquakes, 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 on how to prepare for emergencies, the Ready Illinois website also provides guidance on what to do during and after a disaster. A list of the 2017 monthly preparedness topics is also available on the Ready Illinois website.
Preparedness information is also available through the Ready Illinois Facebook (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois) pages.
llinois State Police Encourages Safe Driving Habits During the Holidays
PESOTUM – The upcoming holidays will bring family and friends together for the final major celebrations of the year. Unfortunately, some will choose to make life-threatening driving decisions while behind the wheel. Captain Louis Kink, District 10 Commander, encourages everyone to enjoy the holidays, but to do so responsibly.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among those aged 1-54 in the U.S., and traffic crashes are largely preventable. If you are traveling during the holidays, please be accountable for your actions and do your part to prevent a traffic crash.
If you will be attending a holiday celebration were alcohol is involved, please make sure you use a designated driver or make necessary arrangements to ensure an intoxicated person does not get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Before you start your trip, make sure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up. It is estimated that the risk of fatal injuries is cut in half when seat belts are properly worn. Also, be sure to eliminate distractions. Taking your eyes off the road for any reason is not a good idea. Looking at a cell phone for five seconds at 55 mph is like driving blind for the length of a football field.
Be sure to watch your speed. The faster you are going, the less time you have to react when trying to avoid a crash. Furthermore, the faster you are going, the greater the chance of a crash resulting in serious injury.
“It’s more than being involved in a crash, it’s about the devastation that a fatal car crash causes.” Captain Louis Kink added. “Our District 10 Troopers will aggressively patrol our roadways looking for impaired drivers and other drivers whose actions may potentially cause a fatal crash. We want everyone to arrive alive and enjoy the holiday season. Be sure to designate a driver if you will be drinking and never ride in a car with an impaired driver. Please also remember my troopers and other authorized emergency vehicle operators have families waiting for them to return safely home. Please move over and slow down when approaching any stationary emergency vehicles.”
Don’t ruin anyone’s festivities this holiday season. Be accountable for your actions behind the wheel and drive responsibly.
IEMA Highlights Safety during the Holidays
Encourages holiday shoppers to give preparedness gifts this year
SPRINGFIELD – If you’re trying to find the perfect holiday gifts for everyone on your list, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is offering ideas that will help your loved ones stay safe when disaster strikes. IEMA is focusing on holiday safety throughout December as part of its annual preparedness campaign.
“As we saw with the flooding last December, disasters can happen at any time and without much warning,” said IEMA Director James Joseph. “Giving friends and loved ones items that will help them be better prepared for the unexpected shows how much you care about their safety.”
Joseph said preparedness gift ideas include the following:
• National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather alert radio with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology. These radios provide warnings and critical post-event information for tornadoes and other severe weather, natural, environmental and public safety hazards.
• Flashlight with extra batteries.
• First aid kit with sterile bandages and gauze pads in assorted sizes; antiseptic; latex gloves; tweezers; scissors; soap and moistened towelettes; and thermometer.
• Home emergency preparedness kit stocked with a three-day supply of bottled water and non-perishable food; battery-powered radio, weather radio and flashlights with extra batteries; first aid kit; shut-off wrench (to turn off household gas and water); manual can opener; and fire extinguisher.
• Vehicle emergency preparedness kit stocked with a flashlight with extra batteries; first aid kit; water and non-perishable snacks; blankets; windshield scraper and brush; booster cables; sack of sand or kitty litter; tool kit; and shovel. The items can be packed in a backpack or rubber tub.
Most preparedness gift items can be found in hardware and department stores. For additional information on emergency preparedness, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
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