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IEMA Encourages People to Stay Aware, Be Prepared for Strong to Severe Storms
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By Member Ed St. Louis
April 16, 2019

Emergency Preparedness Starts at Home

SPRINGFIELD – While many parts of Illinois recently experienced an unseasonable April snowstorm, state officials are urging residents to be alert and prepared for strong to severe storms in the coming days. A portion of Illinois is under the threat of severe weather Wednesday night into Thursday. The National Weather Service forecasts damaging winds will be the primary concern, though hail and isolated tornadoes are also possible. With that in mind, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is encouraging people to stay aware of local forecasts and be prepared to act quickly if weather warnings are issued.

“The first line of defense against any emergency or hazard is personal preparedness,” said Acting IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Take this time now, to prepare your family for severe weather. Personal preparedness lessens the impact on families, workplaces and our communities.”

Follow these four steps to better prepare you family for severe weather:

1. Ensure each member of your family can receive emergency alerts and notifications.

In this day and age of families on the go, it is critical that you have multiple ways to receive notifications and updated information about severe weather. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are available on most smartphones. Check your phone’s notification settings under ‘Government Alerts’ to ensure ‘Emergency Alerts’ is turned on. With a WEA-enabled phone, you will receive tornado and flash flood warnings issued for your location, even if you’re traveling outside your home county or state.

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.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather alert radios can be programmed to issue a tone alarm and provide information about a warning that has been issued for your county. The tone alarm provides a 24/7 alert to approaching hazards, even during overnight hours when many people are sleeping.

2. Identify your shelter location at home, work and school

If a tornado warning is issued for your area, seek shelter immediately, preferably in a basement underneath the stairs or a sturdy piece of furniture. If there is no basement, go to an interior hallway or a small interior room without windows, get under sturdy furniture and use pillows or cushions to protect your head and neck.

3. Develop and practice a family communication plan

Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes. Know how you will contact one another and reconnect if separated during a storm or other emergency. Remember, during a disaster, phone lines may be overwhelmed by emergency calls. To let loved ones know you are safe, consider a check-in on social media or send a text.

4. Review your emergency supply kit

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for work, home and your vehicle. Remember to consider the needs of all your family members, including your pets. After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several hours or several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies. To find a list of basic disaster supplies, visit ready.illinois.gov.
For more information about what to do before, during and after a storm, please visit www.Ready.Illinois.gov. There you will find a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, developed by IEMA and NWS, which provides tips on how to prepare for all weather emergencies. Additional tips and information are available on the Ready Illinois Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter page (www.twitter.com/ReadyIllinois).

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