SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local offices of emergency management are encouraging residents to stay aware of local forecasts and be prepared for potential flooding. The National Weather Service is forecasting a chance of rain for several days beginning mid-week through the weekend. The forecast serves as a good reminder that anywhere it rains, it can flood.
“It is important for residents to identify and react appropriately to flood situations that may put them at risk,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Those living in low-lying areas and along rivers and streams should maintain awareness as we head into this weekend and next as the forecasted rainfall could cause some rises along rivers and ponding in low-lying areas.”
Flood preparedness tips include:
TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN: Don’t walk or drive into flooded areas. Most flood-related fatalities involve people in vehicles attempting to drive through a road covered with water. The speed and depth of the water is not always obvious, and as little as two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles, including trucks and SUVs.
STAY INFORMED: This forecast is a good reminder that people should always have multiple ways to receive notifications and updated information about severe weather warnings, such as through a NOAA weather alert radio, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), weather alert apps, TV and radio broadcasts, the Internet, outdoor warning sirens and more.
EMERGENCY KIT: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a few new items should be included in your emergency supply kit, including face coverings for every member of your family (over the age of 2), hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. Other items to include in a basic emergency supply kit are: water, food, NOAA weather radio, flashlight, batteries, phone charger, and prescription medications. A complete list can be found online at www.ready.gov/kit. Simple instructions on how to make your own face covering can be found here.
CHECK YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE: A flood insurance policy could protect you from the devastating expenses caused by flooding. Standard homeowners’ insurance does not cover flood damage. A flood policy takes 30 days to go into effect from application to payment, so taking action before a storm is recommended. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) protects policyholders financially even if they live in an area that did not qualify for federal disaster assistance. In fact, statistics show, insured survivors are able to recover quicker and more fully from a flood or other catastrophic event than their uninsured neighbors.
REDUCE FLOODING RISKS: There are several DIY projects that can be done today to prepare your home for an increase in precipitation. Make sure your sump pump is working. Then, install a battery-operated backup in case of power failure. Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
PREPARE YOUR FAMILY: Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area, and know how you will contact one another and reconnect if separated. Develop a family emergency plan and review it with all family members. Visit www.Ready.Illinois.gov for step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for, survive and rebuild after any storm or emergency.
PLAN FOR PETS AND ANIMALS: Make a pet emergency preparedness plan. Many shelters do not allow pets. Make plans now on what to do with your pets if you are required to evacuate your residence.
IEMA offers disaster preparedness information on the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), a one-stop resource for detailed information about what to do before, during and after disasters. To help Illinois residents prepare for severe weather season, IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide that covers flooding, severe weather terms and tips for staying safe. The guide is available on the Ready Illinois website.