The Month of April Highlights

Volunteer Preparedness Response


When a disaster strikes, voluntary organizations spring into action to help people in their community, region or across the country.  Volunteers even play a vital role in ensuring the long-term recovery of a community affected by a disaster.

One nationwide volunteer initiative, the Citizen Corps Program, was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to encourage public involvement in efforts to make communities safer, stronger and better prepared to respond to emergencies.  The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) administers the Citizen Corps program in Illinois, which includes 66 local Citizen Corps Councils.

In addition to efforts to encourage personal preparedness, Citizen Corps Councils in 53 Illinois communities have established volunteer response teams known as Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).  Volunteer CERT members train and practice response skills such as locating, transporting and providing basic medical treatment to injured people in order to be prepared to support local first responders during disasters.

More information about Citizen Corps Councils, including how to establish a local council, is available at

Disaster volunteer opportunities vary from community to community.  People interested in learning more about how to volunteer to help before, during or after a disaster can contact local voluntary organizations or their local emergency management agencies for information about opportunities in their area.


IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather

IEMA, IESMA Sponsor Online Weather Alert Radio Contest in March

SPRINGFIELD – 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,” said IEMA Acting Director Jennifer Ricker. “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 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, TV 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. “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 ( and Twitter Page (

"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."






Are you Prepared?


McHenry County Emergency Management Agency would like to remind you that now is the perfect time to review your Family’s Emergency Plan and check the supplies in your Emergency Kit or to take some time and create these life-saving tools. We all know first-hand the impact severe weather can have, whether it is flooding, winter weather or heat advisory. No matter what the disaster is, there are simple preparedness steps that anyone can take to protect themselves and their loved ones in a time of need. To assist the community with this effort the Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin Regional Catastrophic Planning Team (IL-IN-WI RCPT) has launched Gear Up, Get Ready campaign to encourage households to take key steps in family preparedness. This mission encompasses 19 counties and communities in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

By taking a few simple steps ahead of time, you and your family can be ready when disaster strikes:

  1. Make a Family Emergency Plan decide how you will reconnect with each other, list important information and phone numbers and discuss the plan with all members and post it in your home where visitors can view it. 
  2. Gather supplies for an Emergency Kit and put them in one place to meet your family’s needs for three days. You may already have three days of food already within your home. Top five items include, water, non-perishable food, battery powered radio, flashlight & extra batteries and a first aid kit. Be sure to meet the specific needs of your family and pets. 
Simple templates for Family Emergency Plan and Emergency Contact Cards as well as Emergency Kit checklists are available at


211 in McHenry County

The 211 service streamlines access to health and human services for McHenry County residents. When an individual needs information or referral services for which they have little or no prior knowledge or experience, dialing 211 is a simple option. Once the individual dials 211, they will be connected to a call center where they will speak to a professional information and referral specialist who will refer or connect the caller to the appropriate agency.

2-1-1 Illinois