Thursday, Nov. 11


Illinois residents urged to prepare
before winter assaults    
Send a link to a friend

Winter Storm Preparedness Week highlights need for winter storm survival kits in homes and cars

[NOV. 11, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Snow, sleet, ice and bitterly cold temperatures are an inescapable part of Illinois winters, yet all too often people are caught unprepared when a winter storm strikes. More than just an inconvenience, being unprepared can be dangerous -- even deadly.

That's why the Illinois Emergency Management Agency uses its annual Winter Storm Preparedness Week to spread the word about the simple steps that can save lives. This year's preparedness week is Nov. 14-20.

"According to the National Weather Service, there hasn't been a winter in Illinois without a severe storm in the past century," said William C. Burke, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. "Even though winter weather in Illinois varies from north to south, it's important that everyone be prepared because we've seen snow and ice cause problems everywhere, even in southern Illinois."

Burke said heavy snowstorms or icy conditions can cause serious problems both at home and on the road, so people should take steps now to be prepared. One such step is to assemble a home survival kit in case winter weather prevents you from leaving home or utilities are disrupted by heavy snow or ice. A home survival kit should include the following:

  • Three-day supply of nonperishable food, including high-energy foods such as dried fruit and candy
  • Bottled water
  • Battery-operated radio, NOAA weather radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight
  • First-aid kit
  • Extra medications and special items for babies, the disabled and the elderly
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Emergency heating equipment, such as fireplaces, wood-burning stoves or space heaters

Burke noted that many of these items are the same as those recommended for general family disaster survival kits, so families should plan to have them on hand at all times.

[to top of second column in this article]

It's also important to be prepared for winter weather when traveling in your car. A car survival kit should include many of the same items as your home kit, plus the following:

  • Cell phone and charger
  • Knife
  • Extra clothing to keep dry
  • Sack of sand or cat litter
  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper and brush
  • Tool kit
  • Tow rope
  • Booster cables
  • Compass and road maps
  • Boots

Besides snow and ice, extreme cold also poses serious danger during the winter months. According to the National Weather Service, the coldest temperature on record in Illinois occurred on Jan. 5, 1999, when the mercury dipped to minus 36 degrees F near Congerville. To prevent frostbite and hypothermia, people should always wear proper attire during severe cold spells -- layers of clothing, a hat, mittens, scarves, and dry shoes and socks.

To learn more about how to prepare for severe winter weather, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service developed a "Winter Storm Preparedness" guide, which is available at or by calling (217) 557-2475. The guide includes many more tips on how to stay safe in your home and car, as well as information about winter weather terms, wind chill, frostbite and hypothermia. [To download the Adobe Acrobat Reader for the PDF file, click here.]

[Illinois Emergency Management Agency news release]

< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor