September has been officially declared “Emergency Preparedness Month” by Gov. Pat Quinn.
The ultimate way to handle disasters is to start planning for them before they occur, and Illinois officials are encouraging residents of the state to take action before disasters begin by formulating specialized plans for both homes and businesses. Authorities will partner with other states and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to create these strategies.
The most important aspects they are concerned about are making sure there will be a way for residents to communicate with each other as well as a plan for where to go during an emergency. The use of emergency supply kits is also strongly encouraged.
“Emergency Preparedness Month is an important observance because the best time to plan for an emergency is before one happens,” Erin Link, coordinator for communication and marketing for Health Promotion and Wellness, said.
“Most often, people don’t think of the things they will need until after something unexpected happens.”
“One important way that students, faculty and staff can keep themselves safe in the event of an emergency on campus is to sign up for emergency alerts from the university at IllinoisState.edu/Alert,” Link added.
The ISU police department is taking several steps to ensure student safety and overall emergency preparedness. Their website includes details on what to do in all types of different situations that could occur on campus and how students and staff will be notified.
The site includes circumstances such as evacuation methods, bomb threats, workplace violence and hostile intruders in residence and non-residence halls. For each of these, the website offers valuable tips on how to stay safe in such situations.
The police department provides a number of crime prevention programs to ensure protection, including how to avoid identity theft and being prepared for campus violence. The site has links to all of the programs provided for each type of situation and features details on the Bird Watch, which is the neighborhood watch for campus.
The ISU Bird Watch Mobile App allows students, staff and faculty to access security and safety information, which also has campus crime data and safety resources.
It is important to the ISU police unit that they provide and assist each person in making informed choices regarding their safety in emergencies and disasters.
“It is important for people to be familiar with the types of emergencies that are possible in their area,” Link explained.
“People should think about where they spend a lot of time, what types of emergencies are possible, and a plan of action.”
“Simple planning ahead of time can keep you safe and save lives,” she said.
General safety tips and information on reporting suspicious activity is also posted online.
For more information on safety and emergency preparedness, check out: Police.IllinoisState.edu/Emergency_Preparedness/.