Illinois County to Incorporate New FEMA Guidelines in 2016 with Emergency Situation Room

In Illinois, being prepared for natural disaster means being prepared for tornadoes and blizzards, both common weather events in the Midwest. In order to keep emergency response running smoothly, the Kane County Office of Emergency Management built a situation room, decked out with high tech monitoring equipment. They can see local weather on a radar, as well as police activity in the county.

The Office of Emergency Management is developing new strategies to come in line with the updated FEMA National Preparedness Goal, released in October 2015. The new goal includes 32 core capabilities, that when executed as a group, should make emergency management an organized and coherent process. The effect of the new goal is that the community at large becomes involved in the emergency management process. Emergency officials can hear about what local citizens need, and shift their action plans accordingly.

One of the goals of the Kane County Office of Emergency Management is to focus on partnering with local volunteer groups and churches before disaster strikes. The local office has worked with volunteer organizations before when a tornado tore though Fairdale, IL, last April. It killed one and injured seven, leaving homes and communities in pieces. At that time, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), a coalition of organizations dedicated to disaster response, came in quickly to help residents of Fairdale and surrounding neighborhoods recover. The Kane County Office stood as a middleman between the NVOAD and the residents, helping coordinate donations and funding.

Besides natural disasters, the new FEMA goal includes points about cybersecurity and terrorism, increasingly real threats in the world today, as well as community preparedness and recovery once disaster strikes.