SPRINGFIELD – While it may be impossible to prevent natural hazards, such as floods, droughts and wind storms, there are actions communities and their citizens can take to reduce or eliminate loss of life and property. Throughout January, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will focus on hazard mitigation as part of its 2011 Preparedness Campaign.
“Many people know IEMA for our response efforts following a major disaster,” said IEMA Interim Director Joe Klinger. “But we’re also actively involved in efforts to reduce the impact of future disasters in Illinois. Through the preparedness campaign this month, we hope to increase awareness of hazard mitigation and encourage more communities to implement hazard mitigation actions.”
IEMA’s website (www.iema.illinois.gov) provides information about the natural and man-made hazards affecting Illinois and offers numerous resources for additional information about mitigation planning. IEMA also administers several programs that can help communities fund mitigation projects, such as acquiring or elevating flood-prone structures and hardening facilities against earthquakes.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently approved the Illinois Hazard Mitigation Plan, which is available on the website. This plan analyzes Illinois’ natural hazard risks in detail, provides an in-depth history of natural disasters in Illinois and how the state is working to reduce the effects of future disasters.
The website also provides information to help individuals understand hazards in their area and actions they can take to protect their families and property. Floods are the most common natural hazard in Illinois, and IEMA’s website offers links to information about floodplains, flood maps, levees and the National Flood Insurance Program.
Other mitigation information for individuals discusses actions to reduce wind damage to homes, earthquake safety measures for homes and businesses and personal safety actions for severe weather events.
IEMA’s 2011 preparedness campaign will focus on different preparedness and safety topics each month, such as preparedness for schools, vacationers, pet and livestock owners and weather-related hazards. Other topics include volunteering during disasters, homeland security, earthquakes and home hazards.
Additional preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.