Severe weather preparedness week strengthens readiness ahead of the season

Local News

CENTRAL ILLINOIS, Ill. (WMBD)– Here in Central Illinois we are three days into Severe Weather Preparedness Week. This is a time where people should take a second to asses how prepared they are should disaster strike.

Chief Meteorologist Chris Yates said, while it too far out to predict extremely accurately, Central Illinois needs to be prepared for its own severe weather season.

“Yes it could be a very active spring,” said Yates. “Peak season for us is in March, April, May, and June, specifically May is our big tornado month of the year. It is actually very important to have a plan ahead of time. This is something you should be doing now is sitting down with your family, maybe after dinner, and say, ‘okay, where do we go when there’s a tornado?'”

Organizations like the Salvation Army, Ameren Illinois, Midwest Food Bank, and the American Red Cross are also on stand by ready to lend a helping hand.

“The more prepared you are, the abler and ready you will be to help your neighbors here or our neighbors in places like Nashville,” said Valerie Goodwin a Program Manager for Bloomington’s American Red Cross location. “

“At some point in time, we’ll be filling boxes,” said Mike Hoffman a Disaster Relief Coordinator for Midwest Food Bank. “So there’s going to be opportunities for people to come in to help us fill boxes so that we can get ready to send down to the Nashville area. Typically on a disaster like this, our first response comes in several days after the initial tornado hits. So what that means is that they’re in their assessing what needs to be done, and then we build these food boxes…and these boxes have enough food in them for a family of four for four or five days.”

Ameren Illinois is ready to mobilize resources in the aftermath of the tornadoes if it’s asked to give support through its mutual assistance program.

Mutual assistance enables Ameren Illinois to pull in additional linemen, trucks, and equipment from utilities in other states to assist with large‐scale outages. In approximately 24 to 36 hours after a storm, the network may have 1,000 to 2,000 additional boots on the ground in our territory, working hand‐in‐hand with local crews to safely restore customers.

Similarly, Central Illinois personnel may be dispatched to assist with emergency restoration efforts in other states.

This back and forth sharing of resources helps to facilitate a quicker and more efficient response.

Recommended Supplies to Include in a Basic Kit:

  • Backpack or storage tub to hold your supplies
  • Bottled Water
    • 1 gallon per person is recommended
  • Non-Perishable food
    • If including canned foods, you must include a can opener
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First Aid Supplies
    • Bandages
    • Ointment
    • Disinfectant wipes
  • Tissues
  • Toilet paper and bags with ties for personal sanitation
  • Paper and pen or pencil (to take notes, play games, etc)
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket (recommend one for each person in your home)
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Personal hygiene items (travel size deodorant, cotton swabs, feminine items, etc)
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Important documents (identification, insurance information, banking information, wills, etc)
  • Emergency reference materials such as a first aid book
  • Battery-powered radio and an NOAA Weather radio
  • Formula and diapers (if there is an infant in the house)
  • Extra pet food (if there are pets in the house)
  • Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Cups and utensils
  • A change of clothes for each person in your home (if you live in a cooler climate make sure the clothes are warm!)
    • Also include a jacket, hat, gloves and closed-toe shoes for walking (boots or sturdy sneakers are best)
  • Rain gear
  • Cash
  • Paper towels
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Cards or game (it is important to have something to do to take your mind off the situation for a few moments or alleviate stress if you will be in your shelter for an extended time)

The United Way is collecting donations for tornado victims as many Middle Tennessee communities are dealing with the devastation from storms during the early morning hours.

The United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties is offering a giving opportunity to help affected areas.

A relief fund has been established and donations may be made by one of the following methods:
• Text RELIEF2020 to 41444
• Online at
• By check to P.O. Box 330056, Murfreesboro, TN 37133 (please write RELIEF2020 on the memo line)

To purchase an NOAA weather radio: CLICK HERE.

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