With almost all Illinoisan students heading back to school this week and college students going back this month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is reminding all families to review their own emergency preparedness plans and school safety plans. Whether your children are in school, on a bus, at music practice, or with their youth sports teams, planning and sharing information with each other can be critical.
IEMA Deputy Director Scott Swinford says that severe weather and other emergencies can strike at any time. Knowing where to go and what to do for both you and your children can go a long way towards keeping them alive.
With the upcoming school year, IEMA has some tips for your family. Teach children with cell phones about “text first, talk later.” Sending an “Im OK” text message gets through way easier than a phone call. Explain the basics of weather preparedness for tornadoes, thunderstorms, fire, floods, and other disasters. Make a family communications plan. Update your emergency contact info at school. Consider adding a relative to the school’s information file for picking up your kids in case of an emergency.
Other tips include filling out a backpack emergency card. Learn more about school plans for disaster reunification. Encourage young students to take drills seriously. Encourage college students to make disaster preparedness kits. Speak to college students about signing up for weather alerts. There is a free Safe2Help Illinois helpline and app which you can find through the Illinois Emergency Management Agency at www.ready.illinois.gov.