emergency plans

IEMA: Parents Should Include Emergency Preparedness In Back-To-School Plans

The following is some helpful emergency preparedness advice for parents (not just in Illinois) with kids in school. From an Illinois Emergency Management Agency press release on the Illinois Government News Network website last Friday:

Parents Encouraged to Include Emergency Preparedness in Back-to-School Plans
August is School and Campus Preparedness Month in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – As parents prepare to send their children back to school or college, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies throughout Illinois are encouraging them to include emergency preparedness in their back-to-school plans.

“Disasters can happen anytime of the day, even when children are in school or daycare,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Take a few minutes to find out how your child’s school will handle emergencies and talk to your child about how your family will communicate after a disaster.”

Joseph offered several back-to-school planning tips for parents of school-aged children, including:

• Know your child’s school or day care emergency plan.
• Find out where children will be taken in the event of an evacuation during school hours.
• Ensure your current emergency contact information is on file at your child’s school.
• Pre-authorize a friend or relative to pick up your children in an emergency and make sure the school knows who that designated person is.
• Teach children with cell phones about ‘Text First, Talk Later.’ Short, simple text messages, such as “R U OK?” and “I’m OK,” are more likely to get through than a phone call if phone service is disrupted following an emergency. As phone congestion eases, you can follow up with a phone call to relay more information. Many college campuses offer email and text messages to alert students of potential dangers, such as severe weather and other threats. Encourage your college student to sign-up for such alerts. Some colleges also provide alert messages for parents so they also are aware of potential dangers on campus. In addition, make sure your student knows the emergency plans for their dorm or apartment building.

Additional preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Chicago May Update Emergency Plan After Boston Attack

Here’s something out of City Hall that all Chicagoans can get behind. From Craig Dellimore on the CBS Chicago website last week:

Mayor Emanuel says Chicago may revise its emergency medical plans in light of Boston’s response to the Boston Marathon bombings a week ago, reports WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore.

Mayor Emanuel says special circumstances not withstanding, Boston showed it was well-prepared to face a crisis when those bombs went off.

“Now not every time are you going to have an incident where you have medical care on-site because they had a marathon they had it on-site. That clearly saved lives. But having a well-rehearsed, well-planned, well thought out medical emergency response, was crucial in saving lives. We have a very good plan. We did it for NATO exercise. I have asked everybody to go back and look at it,” said Emanuel.

And he says after Boston authorities review their response, Chicago will see about updating its emergency plan.

I’ve never seen the City of Chicago’s “official” emergency preparedness plan. Even when I worked in the public safety field. Last I heard, the plan was closely-guarded. Leah Samuel wrote in The Chicago Reporter website back on September 12, 2007:

Although the federal government recommends that cities plan their responses to terrorism with inclusiveness and openness, Chicago’s emergency preparedness plan is known only to a few in city government, The Chicago Reporter has found.

Among those who haven’t been shown the plan are the city’s aldermen, firefighters and police officers.

“We do not discuss the particulars of our plan so as not to allow those who would harm us an additional way to create disorder,” Cortez Trotter, executive director of the Office of Emergency Communications, or 911 Center, said in a written statement. “Full disclosure of the plan might assist those who would thwart evacuation and rescue procedures.”

Samuel added later in the piece:

“We don’t want anyone to see it,” said Larry Langford, public information officer for the Office of Emergency Communications. He called the secrecy “an unfortunate by-product” of emergency planning: “You want to reassure everyone, but you don’t want to give the plan away.”

Here’s hoping more than just “a few in city government” are familiar with the City’s emergency preparedness plan in 2013.

Or else Chicago residents could really be screwed in a major crisis.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Dellimore, Craig. “Chicago May Update Emergency Plans In Wake Of Boston Terror Attack.” CBS Chicago. 22 Apr. 2013. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/04/22/chicago-may-update-emergency-plans-in-wake-of-boston-terror-attack/). 1 May 2013.

Samuel, Leah. “Emergency Plan Eludes City Officials.” The Chicago Reporter. 12 Sep. 2007. (http://www.chicagoreporter.com/news/2007/09/emergency-plan-eludes-city-officials). 1 May 2013.

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