GRAFTON (WSIL) — Today, Governor J.B. Pritzker surveyed the flood damage in the Metro East and activated an additional 200 Illinois National Guard soldiers to help in the state’s active flood fight along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. In all, more than 400 guardsmen are reinforcing the state’s efforts to fight raging floodwaters as more precipitation takes aim on river communities.
Task Force 2 (TF2) is made up of approximately 200 Soldiers supporting flood operations in the Metro East area of Illinois. The Soldiers of TF2 are drawn from the 233rd Military Police Company based in Springfield, 933rd Military Police Company based in Fort Sheridan, 1844th Transportation Company based in East St. Louis, and the 709th Medical Company from Bartonville, Illinois.
"The State of Illinois will use every resource at its disposal to protect our residents and our communities from devastating floods," said Governor J.B. Pritzker. "As we continue to strengthen our levees in west-central Illinois, we must also plan and prepare for this force of nature to move downstream to our southern Illinois communities. These soldiers will help not only bolster our current numbers on the ground, but allow us to pre-position key assets in downstream communities to prepare for what’s to come in the days ahead."
To date, the state of Illinois has provided more than three million sandbags, more than 2,700 rolls of plastic, 27 pumps and five dozen IDOC offenders to assist local communities as they fight rising floodwaters and protect our state’s critical infrastructure.
"The State of Illinois has been victim to a seemingly constant wave of storms that have generated significant rainfall, extreme levee saturation and devastating river flooding," said Tate-Nadeau. "Our priority has been protecting the life, health and safety of our state’s residents. As we press forward, our local and state emergency managers remain steadfast and committed to protecting our state’s critical infrastructure which helps to ensure continuity of key community lifelines."
With additional precipitation in the forecast, river levels will continue to rise in areas along parts of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. Emergency Management officials are advising residents in river communities to have a family evacuation-plan in place, in the event an evacuation is necessary due to rising floodwaters.
Emergency management officials are urging residents to be aware of the flood risks in their neighborhood and know the steps to take to keep their family safe in the event of an emergency.
- Be ready to evacuate. Have an emergency go bag packed for a quick evacuation. When you want to pack for all members of your family, including your pets. Don’t forget your medications, glasses, cellphones and chargers.
- Have more than one way to receive important weather information. Because disasters can occur while you are at home, at school, at work or on vacation, make sure your mobile phone can receive emergency alerts. Monitor television, radio and internet for updates, and where possible, sign up for your community’s emergency alert system.
- Follow instructions of local authorities. If told to evacuate, do so immediately. If you do not have friends or family to stay with, contact the American Red Cross. Dozens of shelters have been identified throughout the state to help those with in need of a safe place to stay.
- Because families may not be together when an evacuation order comes in, have a family communications plan to ensure everyone has the essential information and knows where to meet up post-evacuation.
- Check on your neighbors. During a disaster, 46 percent of individuals expect to rely on the people in their neighborhood for help within the first 72 hours after a disaster or emergency.
- Don’t forget: Turn around, Don’t Drown. Flooding has been a factor in 49 deaths across Illinois since 1995. This is more than the number of people killed by tornadoes during the same period. Three out of four flood fatalities involve people in vehicles trying to cross flooded roads.