SENATE WEEK IN REVIEW: July 8-12, 2019

Recent earthquakes in California are prompting calls for earthquake awareness in Illinois from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA). The request also coincides with IEMA’s Youth Preparedness Month for July.

Elsewhere, the Illinois State Police (ISP) recently stepped up efforts to recruit new troopers through a “Fast Track” program that offers job opportunities for local police officers.

Illinois’ Earthquake Zones

The recent 7.1 magnitude earthquake in California and its thousands of aftershocks led IEMA to recently issue a call on its Facebook page for earthquake awareness and preparedness in Illinois:

“The recent earthquakes in southern California serve as a stark reminder that earthquakes can happen anywhere in the world and at any time of day! Teach your family and co-workers the importance of learning how to ‘Drop, Cover and Hold On.’”

The agency suggests a number of tips for earthquake preparedness, including assessing your home for safety and being prepared for self-sufficiency for 14 days.

More information can be found at

IEMA also created a number of helpful videos, which can be found at

Southern Illinois is bordered by two seismic zones, the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone on our east and the New Madrid Seismic Zone on our west and south. The agency says more than 3,000 earthquakes have been recorded in the New Madrid Seismic Zone since 1974, most of which were so small as to go unnoticed. The New Madrid Seismic Zone is the more active of the two, according to a Northwestern University study published in 2010. The largest quakes ever recorded in the continental United States occurred along the New Madrid Seismic Zone during the winter of 1811-1812. Three major quakes ranged from 6.8 to 8.8 magnitude.

Summer Heat Hits Hard

If you need to escape from the high heat and humidity, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) says you can get relief by visiting one of the 120 state facilities that serve as cooling centers. Cooling centers are located at IDHS offices throughout the state and the seven Illinois Tollway Oases in Chicago. They will be open to the public during regular business hours.

Search for the cooling center nearest to your location at Additional information about the state’s cooling centers is available by calling the IDHS toll-free hotline (800-843-6154).

Disaster Planning Involving Youth 

Also during the month of July, IEMA is focusing on preparing young people for emergencies. IEMA says preparing them individually, and as part of the family, can instill confidence at a time when panic can easily rise.

The agency suggests the following tips:

Involve children in the development of a family emergency plan;
Use real-world events to teach about emergency situations and disasters;
Use media coverage of current disasters (floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, power outages), talk to children about how your family would respond if this happened to you; and
Discuss where to go, what to do and how you will ensure their safety during an emergency.

For more information about youth preparedness, visit

State Police Recruitment

The Illinois State Police are looking for ways to increase the number of troopers and are reinstituting their “Fast Track” program, which offers current certified police officers the opportunity to join the ISP

Fast Track is an accelerated 13-week training program for current police officers, as opposed to the typical 26-week class for new cadets. To qualify for Fast Track, applicants must be a current certified police officer, a graduate from an accredited law enforcement academy and have at least two years of experience while employed full-time.

According to ISP, “Individuals interested in applying for a future Fast Track Cadet Class must complete the online application on the ISP Merit Board’s website at”

The Fast Track Cadet Class is expected to begin in the spring of 2020.

Higher Education: Key to Success

The 9th Annual College Changes Everything Conference will be held July 18, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Tinley Park Convention Center. Leaders from education, non-profits, elected officials, students and other professionals are meeting to discuss ways to encourage student participation in and access to higher education. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is hosting the event.

Dave Syverson

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