Government Agencies Hold Information Event On Natural Disasters Following Hurricane Florence

Nancy Harty
September 18, 2018 - 1:38 pm
Hurricane Tropical Storm Florence North Carolina

AP Photo/Steve Helber

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- If Hurricane Florence has you thinking about how to prepare for a natural disaster, an event in Daley Plaza on Tuesday was a perfect place to start.

Besides the mobile shelter, temporary water stations, and power generators on display, government agencies tasked with responding to emergencies at the federal, state, county and city level handed out useful information.

Gabriel Garriga with FEMA said many of the safety messages sent to those in the path of Hurricane Florence can apply here, too, in case of flooding or tornado.

"We have flooding, tornadoes can happen here too. A lot of people don't believe that, but it could happen anywhere," he said.

Natalia Derevyanny, spokeswoman for the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said agree with him saying we see some of the same problems that hurricanes bring.

"The biggest devastations come when the flooding starts and flooding is definitely something that we are prone to in Cook County," she said. 

She added prep should include finding someone who lives outside of the area to be a contact to check in with.

"It's actually easier to call out of the metropolitan area, than it is to call within a metropolitan area," Derevyanny said.

She said too many people think they can rely on cell phones or tech, which could be hard to use in a power failure.

"We need to know phone numbers. Most people don't have phone numbers written down anymore and so they assume that they are going to be able to get that information out of their cell phone, but once their cell phone is dead, that information is dead, too," Derevyanny said.

Another tip, Garriga said, is whether it's due to a heat-related power outage or a blizzard, you should have an emergency kit with food and water for three days, plus a radio and batteries.