Emergency Management and Preparedness
The Village of La Grange Emergency Management Team is made up of dedicated professionals that have public safety and disaster mitigation as a primary focus.
The mission of Emergency Management is to minimize the effects of future disasters through mitigation, planning, training and response efforts. The coordination of response agencies during a disaster event and public education and awareness for disaster preparedness is a vital part of these efforts. We ensure the Village's state of readiness with the development and maintenance of the Emergency Operations Plan by partnering with all Village Departments.
The Office of Emergency Management provides:
- Effective and orderly governmental control and coordination of emergency operations;
- Develops and maintains the Village's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan;
- Coordinates emergency management activities, services, and programs, including teaching people how to get through a disaster; making disaster assistance available to our communities, businesses, and individuals; and training and emergency simulations.
If you would like additional information or have any questions regarding Emergency Management, please email Chief Terrence Vavra or call (708) 579-2338. For emergencies please dial 911.
West Suburban Medical Reserve Corps
If a disaster were to strike La Grange, would you know what to do? Learn how you can help yourself, your family and your community during and after disasters and emergencies. Sign up now to participate in the West Suburban Medical Reserve Corps (PDF) to help make a difference in our community. No medical background is necessary to participate.
Disaster strikes anytime and anywhere. It can take many forms - a tornado, flood, fire, hazardous spill, an act of nature or an act of terrorism. It builds over days or weeks, or hits suddenly, without warning. Every year, millions of Americans face disaster.
For more information regarding disaster preparedness, please visit the following websites:
- Department of Homeland Security
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Illinois Emergency Management Agency
- Cook County Homeland Security
Tornado Warning Siren
The Village conducts a monthly test of the warning siren system on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 a.m.
Tornados and Severe Weather
When the Weather Warning Siren is activated, you should seek immediate cover as indicated below. Consider creating an "emergency kit" which includes a flashlight, portable radio and cell phone.
Downed Power Lines
Keep yourself and others away from any fallen power lines. You never know when they might be live. Call ComEd immediately and report the location of the downed wires. If a line falls on your car, stay in your car. If you must get out of the car, jump clear, do not touch any part of your car and the ground at the same time. Call ComEd at 1-800-334-7661 to report an outage.
In a house with a basement:
Avoid windows. Go to the basement and sit under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor.
In a house with no basement or apartment:
Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down, and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc) to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.
In an office building, hospital, nursing home or high rise:
Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building, away from glass. Crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.
Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.
In a car or truck:
Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible out of the traffic lanes. Seek shelter in a sturdy building. If in the open country, run to low ground away from vehicles. Lie flat and face-down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.
In the open outdoors:
If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can.
In a shopping mall or large store:
Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.
In a church or theater:
Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.
Floods / Flooded Basements
Stay out of flooded basements
Never step into a flooded basement if water may be in contact with electrical outlets, appliances or cords. Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so. Be aware of any electrical equipment that could be energized and in contact with water. Never wade into a flooded basement unless all electricity has been disconnected (such as power that supplies sump pumps, freezers, etc). Power may be restored while you are in the flooded basement and the motors on these appliances may be submerged.
Floods can occur anywhere, with floodwaters rising gradually or flash floods striking suddenly. Flash floods are the number one weather-related killer in the United States - most flood fatalities happen because people try to drive through deadly waters rather than avoid them. The powerful force of water can easily overtake vehicles caught in a flood. Follow these tips to stay safe in your car during a flood:
Pay attention to barricades. Don't ignore them by driving past them.
Do not drive through standing water on roads or in parking lots. The average automobile can be swept off the road in 12 inches of moving water, and roads covered by water are prone to collapse. Attempting to drive through water may stall your engine, with the potential to cause irreparable damage if you try to restart the engine. If you come upon a flooded street, take an alternate route.
Take extra precautions if you're forced to drive through water. If no alternate route exists and you have no other reasonable alternative but to drive through standing water:
- Do your best to estimate the depth of the water (if other cars are driving through, take note of how deep the water is).
- Drive slowly and steadily through the water.
- Avoid driving in water that downed electrical or power lines have fallen in - electric current passes through water easily.
- Watch for items traveling downstream - they can trap or crush you if you're in their path.
- If you have driven through water up to the wheel rims or higher, test your brakes on a clear patch of road at low speed. If they are wet and not stopping the vehicle as they should, dry them by pressing gently on the brake pedal with your left foot while maintaining speed with your right foot.
- Stay off the telephone unless you must report severe injuries.
- If your vehicle stalls in the deep water, you may need to restart the engine to make it to safety. Keep in mind that restarting may cause irreparable damage to the engine.
- If you can't restart your vehicle and you become trapped in rising water, immediately abandon it for higher ground. Try to open the door or roll down the windows to get out of the vehicle. If you are unable to get out safely, call 911 or get the attention of a passerby or someone standing on higher ground so that they may call for help.
Plan for an Earthquake
- Pick "safe places" in each room of your home. A safe place could be under a sturdy table or desk or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture that could fall on you. The shorter the distance to move to safety, the less likely you will be injured. Injury statistics show that persons moving more than 10 feet during an earthquake's shaking are most likely to experience injury.
- Practice drop, cover, and hold-on in each safe place. Drop under a sturdy desk or table, hold on, and protect your eyes by pressing your face against your arm. Practicing will make these actions an automatic response. When an earthquake or other disaster occurs, many people hesitate, trying to remember what they are supposed to do. Responding quickly and automatically may help protect you from injury.
- Practice drop, cover, and hold-on at least twice a year. Frequent practice will help reinforce safe behavior.
- Talk with your insurance agent. Different areas have different requirements for earthquake protection. Study locations of active faults, and if you are at risk, consider purchasing earthquake insurance.
- Inform guests, babysitters and caregivers of your plan. Everyone in your home should know what to do if an earthquake occurs. Assure yourself that others will respond properly even if you are not home during the earthquake.
- Get training. Take a first aid class from your local Red Cross chapter. Get training on how to use a fire extinguisher from your local fire department. Keep your training current. Training will help you to keep calm and know what to do when an earthquake occurs.
- Discuss earthquakes with your family. Everyone should know what to do in case all family members are not together. Discussing earthquakes ahead of time will help reduce fear and anxiety and lets everyone know how to respond.