Tornadoes might not be frequent in northern Illinois, but people still need to know how to deal with them -- just in case, says extreme weather journalist Warren Faidley.
Faidley will be the guest speaker Friday at Elgin's first "Disaster Preparedness Expo."
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The Tucson resident has followed severe weather for 25 years, providing live reports for major news networks, and appearing in specials on National Geographic and The Discovery Channel cable stations. He has written two books, including "The Ultimate Storm Survival Handbook."
The storms that hit the Chicago area June 12 had the potential to produce tornadoes, Faidley said.
"It was pretty unstable there, that could have easily been a tornado outbreak," he said.
Tornado season runs from May through June in so-called "tornado alley" including Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, then shifts north in July, he said.
"East and north (from tornado alley), people don't have the same fear and knowledge than people have farther down south," he said. "What's most important is that you do know some basic tornado safety."
The expo is hosted by Elgin's Office of Emergency Management and funded by a $10,000 grant from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Information will be available on disaster-related topics, including grief counseling, sheltering, tools for people with special needs, building a disaster kit, ham radios/CB sentinels, first aid, emergency warnings, water purification and disaster backpacks.
Presenters will include Enbridge Underground Pipeline Systems, Union Pacific Railroad, the Kane County Health Department, and the Kane County Office of Emergency Management. There will be live demonstrations on pet first aid and CPR, and cribbing and leveraging techniques to rescue victims. There will also be emergency vehicles on display and kids' activities, plus a presentation on terrorism awareness.
Elgin emergency management coordinator Karen Flanagan said the IEMA grant also paid for educational materials for "disaster preparedness mobile classrooms." "We will take our training to neighborhood groups, churches, schools. We want to make sure we reach the entire community," she said.
The free expo takes place 2 to 9 p.m. in the Heritage Ballroom of the The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way. Faidley is expected to speak at 7 p.m. For more information, visit cityofelgin.org.