Severe Weather Preparedness Month observed during March
As recent widespread flooding demonstrates, severe weather can happen any time of the year. To help people prepare for weather emergencies, IEMA and local emergency management agencies will be promoting Severe Weather Preparedness Month throughout March.
"We want to make sure families have a plan in advance, just in case they're ever impacted by severe weather," IEMA acting director Jennifer Ricker said.
"Throughout the month of March, we'll help people understand where they should take shelter, the importance of having a family communications plan, and what should be included in their preparedness kit."
IEMA and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association, IESMA, are also sponsoring an online contest that offers Illinois residents a chance to win a weather alert radio. The "Weather Alert Radios Save Lives" contest will be available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov through March 31.
A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to randomly selected participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. Winners will be notified in April. The radios were purchased by IESMA to increase the use of the devices throughout Illinois.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, weather alert radios can be programmed to sound an alarm and provide information when a weather warning has been issued for your county.
Other ways to receive severe weather warnings include Wireless Emergency Alerts, WEA, weather alert apps, television and radio broadcasts, the internet, outdoor warning sirens and more.
"Standing among the ruins of their Saline County home, a man, woman and their infant child told me they were thankful for the precious time their NOAA weather alert radio gave them to take shelter," said McHenry County Emergency Management director and IESMA Board member David Christensen, referring to the Feb. 29, 2012, pre-dawn tornado that struck Saline County in Southern Illinois. "Those three lives saved convinced me of the value of these radios."
A Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides tips on how to prepare for weather emergencies is available on the Ready Illinois website. Additional tips and information are available on the Ready Illinois Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter Page (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois).
"Please keep in mind, if there are flooded roads it is very simple, don't drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don't Drown," said Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS office in Lincoln. "Nearly all of the people who have died in floods across Illinois were in vehicles."