CHICAGO — As Illinois battles severe low temperatures and anticipated snowfall, Gov. Pat Quinn is directing state agencies to be on high alert to help combat winter storms.
The governor also announced that the state has opened more than 100 warming centers across Illinois to provide shelter for residents from the bitter cold and has more than 1,700 trucks ready to combat the anticipated snow and ice.
“During this severe winter weather, our state agencies are on high alert and doing everything they can to help our residents stay safe and warm,” Quinn said. “In addition to utilizing our warming centers, I urge residents to stay safe on the roads and take special precautions like dressing in layers during the severe low temperatures and expected snowfall.”
The warming centers are located at Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) offices throughout the state. IDHS warming centers are open to the public during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. To find a warming center near you, call the IDHS hotline at (800) 843-6154 or visit www.keepwarm.illinois.gov.
Area warming centers are at the following locations:
- East Alton: Department of Human Services, 606 W. St. Louis Ave
- Granite City: Department of Human Services, 1925 Madison Ave.
- Jerseyville: Department Of Human Services, 110 N. Jefferson St.
Before traveling, motorists are urged to check for the latest road conditions and road closures at www.gettingaroundillinois.com.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) encourages travelers to have a vehicle emergency kit that includes water, snack foods, flashlight, blanket, extra warm clothing, sand or kitty litter, shovel, windshield scraper with brush and booster cables. More winter weather survival tips are available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
Quinn and the Illinois Department on Aging are also encouraging relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to older adults living alone.
Older people are more susceptible to the cold, so seniors should set their thermostats above 65 degrees. People who lower the thermostat to reduce heating bills risk developing hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition in which the body temperature drops dangerously low. Also at an increased risk are older people who take certain medications, drink alcohol, lack proper nutrition and who have conditions such as arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The following are some tips that older adults are encouraged to do to best handle cold temperatures:
- Dress in layers, both indoors and outdoors. Keep active. Make a list of exercises and activities to do indoors.
- Eat well and drink 10 glasses of water daily; stock up on non-perishable food supplies, just in case.
- Keep extra medications in the house. If this is not possible, make arrangements to have someone pick up and deliver your medications.
Illinois State Police issue winter weather travel advisory
COLLINSVILLE — Illinois State Police officials statewide are issuing snow travel advisories and urging motorists to plan ahead and take the necessary safety precautions while traveling on interstates and state roads.
Drifting snow, wet and icy road conditions may disrupt travel and motorists should allow extra time when making travel plans.
Winter driving incidents are preventable. Statewide, ISP handled more than 1,200 calls for service and motorist assists during the last three-day storm in 2014. Drivers should plan accordingly and make safety a priority by driving at a safe speed, allowing plenty of distance from other vehicles to safely maneuver, ensuring vehicle lights are functioning properly, watching for snow removal equipment, and exiting the road to a safe location if driving conditions become too hazardous.
“Illinois State Police are advising motorists to take safety precautions before getting behind the wheel,” ISP Director Hiram Grau said. “Motorists should reduce speeds and drive at safe distances. Unless medical attention is required, any motorists involved in accidents are advised to exchange insurance and driver information to keep drivers and passengers safe and roads clear.”
When crashes occur during extreme weather conditions, the ISP encourages motorists to exchange insurance and driver information to keep motorists safe and the roads clear, unless medical attention is required. Motorists can file crash reports at the nearest ISP district within 10 days. Winter weather safety tips to consider:
- Anticipate reduced visibility and watch for black ice when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, and curves.
- Avoid abrupt steering and braking and avoid tailgating by keeping a safe distance between vehicles.
- Allow enough time for travel and advise others of travel itineraries.
- Avoid unnecessary and sudden lane changes.
- Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.
- Always wear a safety belt and keep a charged cell phone handy.
Road condition information can be obtained by contacting the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) at 1-800-452-IDOT (4368) or on the Internet at www.gettingaroundillinois.com.