Just over the past weekend McHenry County experienced one of the first severe thunderstorms for this severe weather season. While the biggest impact from this weekend’s storm was hail, it could have been a lot more devastating.
It is almost as if Mother Nature was reminding us that severe weather is a very real danger and gave us one more chance to better prepare as individuals and as a community.
There are many things that we can do as individuals. If you already have an emergency kit and an emergency plan, this a great time to review your plan, update contact information and check expiration dates on your emergency kit supplies.
If you don’t have a plan and kit just yet, there is no better time than now to get started! It is much easier then you think! First, make a family emergency plan, then gather some basic emergency supplies and make sure that your family knows who to call if something happens.
Templates for a family emergency plan, emergency kit checklist and printable contact cards are all available on McHenryAware.com, your emergency information portal for McHenry County.
Being prepared as a family and as an individual is great, but we will only have true strength if our whole community is prepared. “Whole community means everyone in a community needs to be prepared for disasters, not just emergency response agencies” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “Individuals, families, businesses, schools, faith-based groups and other community organizations should develop and practice emergency plans that address the needs of everyone in our community. This should include senior citizens, children, those with health concerns or disabilities, non-English speaking residents and others.”
Take a moment to discuss emergency preparedness at home, work, school and every other group that is part of your daily life. Knowing what to do when disaster strikes, no matter where you are, saves lives.
Don’t forget your friends, neighbors, elderly and individuals with functional needs. These vulnerable populations are usually more severely impacted when disaster strikes, so take a moment to find out if they have a plan and make sure that your community has included all those groups and individuals in the emergency planning.
As we move in to the calendar spring, rapid increase in temperatures is likely to cause sudden snow melt that may result in flooding.
If you live in a flood prone area, now is the time to prepare for the flood season!
First step is to review your insurance coverage. Only flood insurance covers flooding. If you don’t have flood insurance, call your local insurance agent or 1-800-720-1090 to reach specialists with the National Flood Insurance Program.
If you anticipate that you will be needing sandbags, sand, water pumps or generators, take some time and check your sand and sandbag supplies and make sure that your pumps and generators are still in working order. If you are on well water, make sure that you have enough drinking water on hand.
For more tips like these, check out the “Flooding” section of this website where you can find tips on what to do before, during and after the flood as well as videos and instructions on correct sandbagging techniques.
You can also monitor the real time water levels as well as 7-day trends for some of the major river and creek gauges in the county.
Are you ready? Is your family prepared for when the disaster strikes?
Week of March 2nd to the 8th is the national Severe Weather Preparedness Week. For those that have their emergency kits and emergency plans already, this a great time to review you plan, update contact information and check expiration dates on your emergency kit supplies.
If you don’t have a plan yet, there is no better time than now to get started! It is much easier then you think! First, make a family emergency plan. Start with this simple form. Then, gather some basic emergency supplies. You can use this easy check list to get you started. Make sure that your family knows who to call if something happens. Use these wallet-sized emergency contact cards.
Three simple steps and you are well on the way to being better prepared.
Just as a reminder how serious severe weather can be, here is video of a train derailment that was caused by a tornado, just couple of years go near Harvard, IL.
There are still seats available for both sessions of the annual Severe Weather Spotter Training. Every year, McHenry County EMA works with our partners, McHenry County College and National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Romeoville to bring this training to McHenry county. If you ever wondered how storms form, how to stay safe during a storm and what is a severe storm and how to report it, this is the class for you.
Class is free and open to everyone, but registration is required. Head over to McEMAEvents and register now!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 18, 2014
SPRING SNOW MELT COULD CAUSE FLOODING
After an extremely long and precipitation rich winter, much of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin are covered in large accumulations of snow. As temperatures rise above freezing in the upcoming weeks they will cause rapid snow melt and increase danger of flooding. Here are some precautions that can be taken in your home to prevent flooding or minimize the damage.
- Flood Insurance – Flood insurance provides year-round financial protection and improves your ability to quickly recover when severe storms strike and cause unexpected flooding. Call your local insurance agent or 1-800-720-1090 to reach specialists with the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Interior and exterior of your home - Check to make sure your gutters and downspout extension pipes are free of snow, ice, and any other objects. Remove any snow, ice, and debris. Move snow on the ground away from your home and provide a clear drainage path. Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.
- Belongings - Bring outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors. Unsecured items may be swept away and damaged by flood waters. Move or elevate your furniture, appliances and valuables to higher floors of your home. If flood waters affect your home, higher floors are less likely to receive damage.
- Sump Pump - Ensure your sump pump is working properly by pouring water into the pit. Test backup sump pump batteries. Verify that the sump pump discharge pipe outside of your home is not frozen, clogged, or blocked in any way. Do not connect the sump pump discharge to the sanitary sewer. If you have a backup sump pump, make sure it is readily available if it becomes necessary to do a quick replacement due to failure.
- Sewer Backflow Valve – installing a sewer backflow valve should prevent sewage from sanitary sewer lines from backing up into your home through drainpipes. Sewage backup not only causes damage, but also creates health hazards.
- Utilities and HVAC - Raise your furnace, water heater, and electric panel to higher floors or the attic if they are in areas of your home that may be flooded. Raising this equipment will prevent damage.
- Fuel Tanks – Properly anchor outdoor fuel tanks (propane, diesel and oil). Unanchored fuel tanks can be easily moved by floodwaters. Floating and/or damaged tanks pose serious threats to not only you, your family, and your house, but also to public safety and the environment
For more information on flooding please visit: