tips for safe vacations
SPRINGFIELD – Sunscreen, check. Golf clubs, check.
Emergency plan? If your summer vacation checklist doesn’t include emergency
preparedness, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) encourages you to
add this important step to your planning process. Throughout June, IEMA and
local emergency agencies across Illinois will promote vacation preparedness to
encourage safe travels.
“A disaster can happen anytime, even while you’re on
vacation,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “At home, you likely know what
to do to stay safe. But in an unfamiliar setting, you and your family could be
more vulnerable to harm. We’re encouraging vacationers to take a few minutes to
learn about potential hazards and how to stay safe if disaster strikes.”
Joseph said people traveling to another region of
the country or overseas should learn about natural and man-made hazards for the
area they plan to visit. Information about unfamiliar hazards, such as hurricanes,
tsunamis or earthquakes, is available at www.Ready.gov.
Even if your vacation spot is prone to dangers
you’re familiar with, such as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, dealing with those
emergencies can be challenging in a new environment.
When you arrive at your destination, identify safe
locations for severe weather and find out how emergency warnings are
communicated in the area, such as outdoor warning sirens or a public address
system. If you have a newer smartphone, check to ensure the ‘Emergency Alerts’
option is enabled in your ‘Settings’ notification center. This will allow you to receive
geographically-targeted, text-like Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) messages
about imminent safety threats in your current location.
To help travelers prepare for vacation, IEMA offers
the following tips:
Before you leave
Pack a travel-size emergency
supply kit with water, snacks, a first-aid kit, flashlight, small
battery-operated radio, extra batteries and an emergency contact card with
names and phone numbers.
Pack extra supplies of critical
items, such as prescription medications and baby formula, in case your return
is delayed by a disaster.
Let family and friends know your
itinerary and how to reach you.
Make sure everyone has the cell
phone numbers of others in your group.
Designate an out-of-area person to contact in case your group is
separated during an emergency and local phone lines are overloaded.
If traveling internationally,
register with the U.S. Department of State through a free online service at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) enables
the State Department to better assist U.S. travelers in an emergency.
During your trip
If traveling by car, check the
forecast for your entire route before and during your trip.
Bring along a travel weather
radio, which will automatically switch to the weather radio station closest to
your travel area and alert you to local weather warnings.
Become familiar with the names of
the counties you are traveling through because weather warnings are issued by
If disaster strikes your vacation spot, you can
register on the American Red Cross’ “Safe and Well” website at www.safeandwell.org so family and friends
will know that you are safe.
More preparedness information is available on the
Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.