SPRINGFIELD – February 1, 2011. Due to the severe winter storm and extremely hazardous conditions across Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn, in consultation with the Illinois State Police (ISP), Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS), has implemented the State’s Continuity of Operations/Continuity of Government Plans (COOP/COG). The inter- agency COOP/COG plans will ensure continued delivery of essential state services during severe winter weather conditions.
Based on National Weather Service warnings and hazardous travel conditions, state government employees – except those serving in continuity of government functions – are instructed to stay home on Wednesday, Feb. 2. Regular state operations will resume on Thursday, Feb. 3. State employees should continue checking http://www.Ready.Illinois.gov for more information.
“We have been monitoring weather conditions, and working with a number of agencies statewide to coordinate preparations for the effects of this storm. Across Illinois, essential services will continue without interruption,” said Governor Quinn. “To protect the safety of our employees and the people they serve, we are directing state employees whose duties are not critical to continuity of essential state services to avoid traveling to work Wednesday.”
COOP/COG ensures that employees responsible for continuity of operations observe the hours needed to guarantee continued delivery and availability of essential public health and safety state services, including: Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) Veterans’ Homes, Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) central health centers and centers for the developmentally disabled, Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) youth centers, Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) correctional institutions, as well as IDOT, ISP and IEMA.
Information on continued essential state services and service locations for the public, as well as situation updates for state employees, will be available online at www.Ready.Illinois.gov starting on Wednesday. Employees without Internet access may call 866-848-2125 (Springfield) and 866-848-2135 (Chicago) for this information.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) cautions motorists against venturing out unless travel is absolutely necessary. The agency is fully-staffed and equipped to plow and salt roadways as necessary, but the department urges motorists to use extreme caution for the duration of the storm. Motorists can acquire up-to-date roadway conditions information at www.gettingaroundillinois.com or at www.travelmidwest.com.
On Monday, Governor Quinn activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield to coordinate the state’s response to the storm. Representatives from nearly a dozen state agencies are staffing the SEOC 24 hours a day throughout the duration of the storm. Governor Quinn also issued a disaster declaration for the entire state in advance of the heavy snow, ice and blizzard conditions expected over the next few days, and today activated more than 500 Illinois National Guard troops to help ensure traveler safety on interstate highways.
Other state assistance includes:
- Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Conservation Police are using all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and four-wheel drive trucks to assist Illinois State Police, perform welfare checks and help motorists and others throughout the storm event.
- The American Red Cross has opened 28 shelters around the state and has nearly two dozen additional shelters on standby. The State of Illinois has also opened a number of shelters (in conjunction with the Red Cross) and warming centers across the City of Chicago and counties across Illinois. More information about shelters and warming centers can be found at: www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
- Supplying generators to local units of governments as requested.
More information about Winter Storm Preparedness is available from www.Ready.Illinois.gov.