What's your emergency plan? City aids EVA members Oct. 7

A tree felled by lightning blocks North Winchester, crushing cars on either side, following storms on Aug 5, 2008. (Photo by Stephen Rynkiewicz)

President’s Message by John Scheer 

Have you have heard the monthly siren test at 10:30 on the first Tuesday of every month? What do you do when you hear those sirens and it’s not a test?

Last month when the tornado came through our neighborhood was the first time I can remember ever hearing the warning sirens while living in Chicago. And it was a good reason the warning was sounded. Between the news flashes that interrupted TV programming to the sudden power outage, we gathered up the dogs and a flashlight and headed to the basement. Again, that was the first time I can remember heading to shelter while living in Chicago. We regularly see major weather damage around the Chicago suburbs, but I remember only small isolated issues from violent weather in the core of the city.

This time, the tornado warnings correctly predicted serious, widespread damage to our neighborhood. There were many tree limbs down, a large tree closed th 1000 block of North Winchester while taking out a couple of cars and fences. The heavy rains flooded the streets and gutters. Homes and businesses took on water, some flooded by backup from the overfilled sewers, others from groundwater rushing into the first floor. The wind took off roofs and found the smallest weaknesses (some horizontal) to allow the rain to find its way into many homes and businesses.

Most of the damage was limited to property damage and we are all thankful for that. But how many of you know the plan of action for different emergencies when those sirens sound the next time? Do you know what the approved evacuation route is if we were notified to leave the neighborhood? Are you prepared for simple medical care if you are unable to get out of your house? Do you know how to get emergency medical treatment if the paramedics, fire department and hospitals are overloaded or unavailable? Do you have a family plan to find each other if the emergency happens when you are not at home?

These are all topics for which Lionel Martin, project manager from the City of Chicago Department of Emergency Management, can help. Martin is scheduled to present at the Oct. 7 East Village general membership meeting. Please come to listen and learn about the plans that are in place that could save your life as well as your loved ones. The EVA October meeting is at 7 p.m. at 1059 N Wolcott.
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