IEMA offers tips for protecting homes, businesses from natural
Preparedness campaign highlights hazard mitigation in January
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[January 08, 2013]
SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois is
susceptible to several types of natural hazards, including floods,
tornadoes, snow and ice storms, droughts, even earthquakes. While
it's impossible to avoid such events, there are several steps
communities and people can take to prevent injuries or deaths and
reduce property losses.
Throughout January, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will
offer tips for protecting homes and businesses and highlight
successful hazard mitigation efforts as part of its 2013
"Try as we might, we'll never be able to
avoid the wrath of Mother Nature," said IEMA Director Jonathon
Monken. "But there are many ways we can limit the impact of these
weather events, ranging from inexpensive, do-it-yourself home
projects to communitywide efforts."
Knowing the natural hazards in your area is the first step toward
reducing your risk. One hazard affecting much of Illinois,
particularly the southern half of the state, is earthquakes. While
many people think the U.S. earthquake risk is primarily on the West
Coast, a catastrophic earthquake is possible in the central U.S.
In fact, during the winter of 1811-1812, a series of earthquakes
centered near New Madrid, Mo., rocked the central U.S. and was felt
as far away as the East Coast. The New Madrid Seismic Zone stretches
from along the Mississippi River valley from southern Illinois to
Mississippi. The Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, located in southeastern
Illinois, also poses an earthquake risk for the state.
IEMA is encouraging people to register for the third annual Great
Central U.S. ShakeOut, a multistate earthquake drill that will take
place at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7. The date for this year's ShakeOut
drill coincides with the 201st anniversary of the Feb. 7, 1812,
earthquake near New Madrid, Mo., the last of that series of major
To date, more than 130,000 Illinois participants are registered
for the drill. Last year, more than 2.4 million people in nine
states participated in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, including
nearly 500,000 in Illinois.
While the "Drop, Cover and Hold On" drill takes only a few
minutes, Monken said participants can also learn about ways to
reduce the earthquake hazards in their homes and workplaces.
To register for the drill, visit
Tips for making your home more earthquake-resistant:
Hot water heaters -- Install a strap or bracing kit to your hot
water heater, securing it to the wall studs. A secure hot water
heater can prevent fires and water damage during an earthquake. Have
a licensed plumber install flexible gas and water line connector
pipes to your water heater. These are safer than rigid pipes during
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TVs, computers and other home electronics -- Secure these items
with special strapping designed to be earthquake-resistant or by
using heavy-duty "hook and loop" tape. This will help protect
valuable equipment as well as make your home safer by preventing
injury or death from falling items during an earthquake.
Furniture and appliances -- Bookcases, armoires, shelving units
and refrigerators should be anchored to wall studs to prevent
tipping that could cause injury. Tall, top-heaving furniture and
appliances should be secured with nylon straps or L-brackets
attached to the wall studs.
Cabinets -- Kitchen and bathroom cabinets should have
child-safety latches installed to prevent items such as dishware and
cleaning supplies from spilling out during an earthquake.
IEMA developed an interactive "Home Hazard Hunt" that allows
people to locate earthquake hazards in a home and learn more about
how to reduce the risks. More information
about hazard mitigation is available on the Ready Illinois website,
In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is offering
two free webinars on earthquake mitigation. A webinar on Jan. 30 at
1 p.m. will offer suggestions for reducing the risks of
nonstructural earthquake damage. This webinar is aimed at property
owners, facility managers, local officials, engineers, architects
and small-business owners. The second webinar, on Jan. 31 at 1 p.m., will focus on
earthquake safety and mitigation for schools.
For more information, visit the Ready Illinois website,
Emergency Management Agency file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]