SPRINGFIELD – Some emergencies, like last week’s blizzard, come with advance warning. Others, like a tornado or earthquake, may strike with little or no warning. Having a family emergency plan and periodically practicing that plan can ensure that everyone in your home is prepared whenever disaster strikes.
During February, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is encouraging people to practice their emergency plans as part of the agency’s 2011 Preparedness Campaign.
“Last week’s snow storm is just another reminder of the importance of preparedness,” said IEMA Interim Director Joe Klinger. “People should not only have a plan, but also practice that plan so everyone knows exactly what to do to stay safe during an emergency.”
A family emergency plan should include two designated locations where family members will meet if it is impossible to return home or you have to evacuate. One location should be near your home and the other outside your neighborhood. Visit these locations so family members are familiar with them.
The plan should also designate an out-of-area contact person family members can call to report their locations if they cannot reach each other. The contact should be far enough away that it is unlikely he or she would be affected by the same emergency. Ensure that each family member has the contact phone number programmed into their cell phones or on a card in their wallet or bag.
It is also important to identify at least two separate escape routes from your home and practice using them. In addition, everyone in the home should know where the gas main and other utilities are located and how to operate them.
Additional preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.