SPRINGFIELD – Winter weather, with its frigid temperatures, snow and ice, can be extremely dangerous, even deadly. To help Illinoisans handle winter’s hazards, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will highlight winter storm preparedness throughout November as part of its 12-Month Preparedness Campaign.
“We’ve enjoyed beautiful weather this fall, but the snow, ice and frigid temperatures of an Illinois winter are just around the corner,” said IEMA Interim Director Joe Klinger. “Many injuries and deaths related to winter weather could be prevented if people take a few minutes today to prepare.”
Klinger said while many people recognize other weather hazards, such as tornadoes, lightning, and floods, more people in Illinois are killed each year by exposure to cold temperatures. Since 1997, 109 cold-related deaths have been reported in the state. During the same period, 30 tornado/thunderstorm-related deaths, 20 deaths as a result of flooding and 12 lightning-related deaths were reported.
To help people prepare for winter hazards, IEMA joined with the National Weather Service (NWS) and the American Red Cross to develop a Winter Storm Preparedness Guide, which contains information about winter weather terms and tips for staying safe at home, in the car and at work or school. The guide is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov or by calling 217-785-9888.
IEMA recommends that every home have a disaster preparedness kit that will help residents stay safe for at least three days. The kits should include a battery-powered NOAA weather radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, non-perishable food, water, a first-aid kit, extra medications and special items needed for babies, disabled or elderly family members.
"The ‘super storm’ that recently impacted the Midwest reminds us that winter is not far away,” said Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service Office (NWS) office in Lincoln. “In the past five years, Illinois has experienced blizzards, major ice storms and bone chilling temperatures. Being prepared has made the difference for many people surviving the elements.”
For more information about emergency preparedness, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.