SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today encouraged people throughout Illinois to become better prepared for emergencies during September as part of National Preparedness Month. The Governor also sent a message to state employees urging them to set aside a few moments this month to ensure the safety of their families during disasters. National Preparedness Month is a nationwide campaign focused on encouraging Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities.
“Just a few minutes today spent on preparedness could ensure your family’s safety when disaster strikes,” said Governor Quinn. “While we never know when an emergency will arise, being prepared can help us better handle the challenges of any type of disaster.”
Governor Quinn noted that developing a Family Communications Plan and an Emergency Supply Kit are keys to personal preparedness. A Family Communications Plan should include agreed-upon meeting places for family members after a disaster, as well as emergency contact information. An Emergency Supply Kit, with items such as water, non-perishable food, a weather radio and flashlight, can help a family stay safe and healthy during tornadoes, ice storms and other major disasters.
As part of the state’s National Preparedness Month campaign, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) launched a new Ready Illinois Facebook page and will be posting daily preparedness tips throughout September. IEMA will also post a series of video clips on a variety of topics on the Ready Illinois Facebook page and YouTube during National Preparedness Month.
Another highlight of National Preparedness Month will be IEMA’s statewide emergency management conference for more than 1,000 responders from emergency management, law enforcement, fire services, public health, volunteer organizations and other groups. The conference will take place Sept. 8-10 n Springfield. In addition to nationally-recognized speakers on a variety of response topics, IEMA will showcase more than 20 pieces of response equipment purchased by the Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) with federal homeland security grants. The equipment on display at the conference will represent identical items that have been staged throughout the state to bolster local and regional response capabilities.
IEMA also maintains the state’s Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), a one-stop resource for detailed information about what to do before, during and after disasters. The Ready Illinois website is also used during disasters to post current information for people directly impacted by the incident, such as shelter locations, road closures, and safety information.
“We’re very excited to add Facebook and YouTube as new avenues for getting the personal preparedness message to people in Illinois,” said IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez III. “As we saw following Hurricane Katrina, a large-scale disaster could force people to fend for themselves for several hours, if not several days. Being prepared before disaster strikes could truly make a life or death difference.”
For more details on how to prepare a Family Communications Plan, assemble an Emergency Supply Kit and other preparedness activities, visit the Ready Illinois website.