Gov. Quinn activates state emergency operations center

Gov. Pat Quinn directed the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to activate the State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield Wednesday after severe storms and tornadoes that struck Harrisburg and other areas in Southern Illinois.

The Governor announced plans to visit Harrisburg later Wednesday.

"At least six people have lost their lives in the wake of these storms, and our hearts go out to their families and the many others who were injured or suffered a devastating loss," Governor Quinn said. "The state of Illinois is committed to doing everything possible to help these communities respond and recover from this disaster."

Personnel from the IEMA and several other state agencies are at the SEOC assessing the impact of the storms and coordinating with local emergency response officials in the affected areas to determine if any state resources are needed for response and recovery from the storms.

According to Quinn, although at this point there have been no requests for state assistance, state officials are ready to respond with personnel, equipment and supplies. Assets from fire, law enforcement and emergency management mutual aid organizations have been deployed to help with response efforts.

IEMA regional personnel were deployed to Harrisburg soon after the storms and representatives from the Illinois State Police, departments of transportation, Central Management Services, Corrections, Public Health and Natural Resources, along with the American Red Cross, reported to the SEOC soon after. Gov. Quinn says the SEOC will remain activated as long as necessary.

March 1 marks the beginning of Severe Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois. IEMA has a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide on the Ready Illinois website that provides information on how to stay safe when severe storms and tornadoes approach.

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