CHICAGO - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today declared four Illinois counties state disaster areas based on damages resulting from the tornadoes and severe storms in LaSalle, Putnam, Will and Kankakee counties.
The Governor toured the devastated areas and committed significant state funds and resources for recovery efforts. This includes heavy equipment from the Illinois Department of Transportation and assistance from the Illinois Department of Corrections to help remove debris caused by the tornadoes and severe storms, which could be overwhelming for these communities.
The state mobilized its resources shortly after the tornadoes hit the area and provided the following services:
- Illinois Department of Natural Resources officers worked with helicopter personnel to evaluate and evacuate damaged buildings. They also provided law enforcement officers for door-to-door and general security checks. Starved Rock Lodge is serving as the location for family members to receive information about persons who are missing. The department is also providing security services throughout the night.
- Illinois Department of Transportation personnel investigated bridge safety as well as dispatched trucks, end-loaders, heavy equipment and personnel to help in the cleanup effort.
- Illinois Department of Public Health sent medical teams to Illinois Valley Community Hospital and is assisting families with counseling.
- Illinois State Police officers dispatched to Granville and Utica to assist with local law enforcement efforts.
- Illinois Emergency Management Agency is coordinating the state’s emergency response and has staff in every significantly impacted area to ensure the state is working hand-in-hand with local officials as well as the American Red Cross.
- Office of the State Fire Marshal coordinated the fire rescue/EMS response.
- The Illinois Commerce Commission activated the Illinois Emergency Communications Network to coordinate utility restoration efforts.