SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — In response to the dangerous winter storm that has blanketed Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation for all 102 counties.
As of 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, approximately 7,000 Illinois households were without power, and that number is expected to fluctuate as the strain of arctic temperatures and extreme weather continues.
The storm has not only caused power outages, but it has also brought life-threatening wind chills and several inches of snow.
The proclamation authorizes the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to coordinate state resources to support local governments as well as facilitate a request for federal emergency assistance if need be. As stated in the proclamation, it will remain in effect for 30 days.
All Illinois residents are also encouraged to take appropriate measures to safely conserve energy.
“Proper home heating is a critical issue during the winter months, and over time has proven deadly for many families,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “If using an alternative heating source during this extreme weather, take a moment to ensure that your carbon monoxide detector is working properly. The proper safety precautions can save lives during extreme weather.”
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is offering the following tips to help households conserve energy while keeping winter safety a priority.
WINTERIZE YOUR HOME: Winterize your home to extend your fuel supply
- Insulate walls and attics
- Caulk and weatherize doors and windows
- Hang blankets over windows at night but let the sunshine in during the day
- Cover cracks around doors with rugs, newspapers, towels or other such material
WHEN AT HOME: Safely conserve energy
- Stay indoors in a heated room as much as possible
- If you have no heat, close doors and vents in unused rooms and shut the doors
- Turn down your home’s thermostat just a few degrees and bundle up with layers or a thick blanket
- Lower the temperature on your home water heater a few degrees
- Avoid using large appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, or dryers
- Reverse your ceiling fan to turn clockwise, producing an updraft that will move the warm air that collects near your ceiling down to the rest of the room
- If using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc., use safeguards and ensure proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
Over the course of the next few days, Governor Pritzker encourages Illinoisans to check on their neighbors, especially elderly neighbors who may need assistance.
According to the press release, 46 percent of individuals expect to rely on the people in their neighborhood for assistance within the first 72 hours after an emergency or disaster. If you are unable to get in touch with your neighbor, or if you are worried, please contact your local law enforcement for a welfare check.
More tips for staying safe at home and on the road are available in the Winter Weather Preparedness Guide.