Mayor Daley asks Chicagoans to watch out for each other

Richard Daley

For example, the city maintains an Extreme Weather Operations Plan that dictates the specific responsibilities of 26 agencies in the event of extreme heat, and which is implemented in the event of a Heat Warning.

A Heat Warning is issued by the National Weather Service when the Chicagoland area experiences the following:

Three straight days of heat index between 100 and 104 degrees,

Two straight days with a heat index between 105 and 109 degrees, or

Any single day when the heat index reaches 110 degrees.

When the plan goes into effect, agencies will carry out their prescribed responsibilities:

The Department of Senior Services will conduct well-being checks by telephone, meanwhile, and extend hours at senior centers;

The Chicago Housing Authority will visit seniors in its buildings twice daily;

The Department of Human Services will operate cooling centers around the Chicago, arrange transportation to the centers and extend the centers’ normal operating hours when necessary;

The Department of Streets and Sanitation will help stranded motorists when possible while also keeping an eye out for seniors in need of help; the department also oversees the Bureau of Electricity, which will maintain a vigilant watch to correct any weather-related power outages;

The Chicago Transit Authority will make buses available to transport people or serve as cooling centers;

And the Park District will extend hours at pools and beaches.

“Remember, most of us can stay safe in very hot weather by following common sense recommendations from the Chicago Department of Public Health, such as drinking lots of fluids, take cool baths or showers, wear lose clothing and slow down,” Daley said.

The Public health Department also recommends:

Avoiding going out in the blazing heat, if possible, especially during the sun’s peak hours around mid-day.

Keeping shades drawn and blinds closed, but windows slightly open.

Staying in air conditioning at home or at a cooling center.

Not letting anyone sit in a hot car, even for a few minutes.

Checking on family members, friends and neighbors.

Daley also said that because of the increase in the number of tornadoes already seen in the region this season, the Office of Emergency Management has revised some of its procedures to make sure the city is able to keep people informed and safe during those kinds of extreme conditions.

The revised procedures include:

The on duty Office of Emergency Management (OEM) responder will immediately report to the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) if there is a tornado warning in Cook County

All 911 police/fire supervisors will receive Emergency Management Network (EMNET) notification. EMNET is a direct link to the National Weather Service through a technology program paid for by the Department of Homeland Security.

Watches/Warnings will be posted on the banner boards on the Operations Floor.

When the Information Management Desk (IMD) generates a TORNADO WARNING, the lights in the Operations Center (OC) and City Incident Center (CIC) will turn yellow.

Cameras bordering the approaching storm will be activated on the video wall. This includes Doppler radar, section for cameras and roof cameras at OEMC.

During a tornado warning for Cook County, a Network Management Center (NMC) person will send out an update every 15 min.

A rapid deployment team will be ready for deployment in a hard hit area. This will be activated when a tornado warning is called for Cook County.

The City also suggests the following steps to help residents save money and conserve energy during the summer:

Insulate and weatherize your home
Use compact fluorescent light bulbs which use only 25% of the electricity of an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light

Use energy star appliances

Use energy efficient air conditioning units

Regularly clean and/or replace filters for air conditioning units

Turn off appliance and computers when not in use

Close shades during daytime hours to make your home cooler (open shades during evening hours)

Use ceiling fans whenever possible (if using ceiling fans it’s not necessary to turn your air conditioner down as low);

Plant trees around your home (can reduce air temperature 3-6 degrees)

Plant shrubs on the side of your house (e.g., ivy) to reduce wall temperatures

Sun dry clothes whenever possible (save 40 cents per load)

Insulate and seal ducts for cooling systems

Microwave or cook outdoors. Kitchens create a tremendous amount of heat that make your air conditioner work that much harder.

“As always, we remind people they can get out of the heat by going to our cooling centers, our senior centers, our library branches, Park District Field Houses and police stations,” Daley said.

“Don’t stay where it’s dangerously hot, and please help those who have a harder time caring for themselves to get out of the heat,” he said.