SPRINGFIELD – After a long, brutal winter, Illinois residents are embracing the return of balmy weather by spending more time in the great outdoors. Throughout June, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies throughout the state will offer tips to help people stay safe while enjoying this summer.
Each week during the month, IEMA will focus on a summertime safety topic, beginning with vacation safety (June 1-7), heat safety (June 8-14), outdoor activities safety (June 15-21) and lightning safety (June 22-30). Safety tips also will be posted on the state’s Ready Illinois Facebook (www.Facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois) pages.
“Many people are planning summer vacations right now,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “Whether you’re checking out some of the great sites in Illinois or traveling far from home, I encourage you to spend a few minutes learning about weather or other disasters possible for your vacation spot. A little advanced planning literally could be a lifesaver if disaster strikes during your vacation.”
Monken said if you’re not sure how to prepare for hazards not experienced in Illinois, such as hurricanes, tsunamis or wildfires, you can find information on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website at www.fema.gov. Even if your vacation spot is prone to dangers you’re already familiar with, dealing with those emergencies can be challenging in a new environment.
When you arrive at your destination, identify safe locations to go to when severe weather approaches and find out how weather warnings are communicated in the area (Are there outdoor warning sirens? Does your hotel or resort have a public address system?).
Other vacation tips include:
• Pack a travel-size emergency supply kit with water, snacks, a first-aid kit, flashlight, small battery-operated radio, extra batteries and an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers you’d need if disaster strikes.
• Pack extra supplies of critical items, such as prescription medications and baby formula, in case your return is delayed by a disaster.
• If traveling internationally, register with the U.S. Department of State through a free online service at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) allows travelers to enter information about upcoming trips abroad so that the State Department can better assist them in an emergency.
• If traveling by car, check the forecast for your entire route before and during your trip. Weather conditions can change drastically, especially if thunderstorms are expected.
• Become familiar with the names of the counties you are traveling through because hazardous weather warnings are issued by county.
• If you have a newer smartphone, check to ensure the ‘Emergency Alerts’ option is enabled in your ‘Settings’ notification center. This will allow you to receive geographically-targeted, text-like Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) messages about imminent safety threats in your current location.
More preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.