During an emergency, officials will work to provide timely, accurate information to the public. Many communities in Illinois have several public information procedures and/or tools in place that may be used during a major emergency or disaster.
Officials will coordinate with all members of the media (print, radio, and television) to deliver accurate information to the public.
Emergency Alert System (EAS)
The EAS is designed to provide the president with a means to address the American people in the event of a national emergency. Beginning in 1963, the president permitted state and local emergency information to be transmitted using the system.
The EAS allows broadcast stations, satellite radio, cable systems, Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) systems, participating satellite companies, and other services to send and receive emergency information quickly and automatically, even if their facilities are unattended.
Along with its capability of providing a national message to the entire public simultaneously, the EAS structure provides authorized state and local personnel a quick method to disseminate important local emergency information. A state emergency manager may use the system to send out a public warning by broadcasting that warning from one or more major radio stations. EAS equipment in other radio and television stations, as well as cable systems, can automatically monitor and rebroadcast that message.
Additionally, EAS equipment can directly monitor the National Weather Service for local weather and other emergency alerts, which local broadcast stations, cable systems, and other EAS participants can then rebroadcast, providing an almost immediate relay of local emergency messages to the public.
Important Note: Since June 12, 2009, full-power television stations nationwide have been broadcasting exclusively in a digital format, allowing stations to offer improved picture and sound quality and additional channels. To receive important protective action information from emergency management officials during a disaster, you should ensure that your television is capable of receiving digital signals. If you’re still using an analog TV set, you have to connect it to a digital-to-analog converter box to watch digital programming. If you have not yet done so, you can still make the switch now. For more information about the transition, visit DTV.gov.
Some communities in Illinois have this system, which will send a recorded message to telephones in a geographically specified area or to a pre-programmed list of contacts.
Emergency Information Bank
During a response to or recovery from a disaster or emergency affecting large areas or populations, a community may activate an emergency information bank. Refer to your local media for the telephone numbers or Web site addresses to be used to access the system.
An Emergency Information Bank is designed to provide critical event-specific information, such as closures, evacuation areas, access points, or support services, such as financial or family assistance available to victims or their relatives. Not all communities in the state have such a system.
3-1-1 City Services Operators
Non-emergency telephone line operators will be provided with updated emergency event information as frequently as possible. Not all communities in the state have such a system.
Emergency Vehicle Public Address Systems
Most emergency vehicles are equipped with public address systems that may be used to make announcements.
Outdoor Warning Sirens
An Emergency Outdoor Warning Siren System is an all-hazards siren system used to warn the general population of potential danger. During an emergency, the sirens may be activated for a set amount of time as determined by your community.
Indoor Warning Radios