Will County EMA takes steps to improve countywide emergency communications

Image of "Ready Will County" app

Will County — The Office of the Will County Executive and the Will County Emergency Management Agency conducted a workshop last week at the Plainfield Fire Protection District to help local governments prepare communications strategies during emergency situations.

More than 60 public information officers from city and township governments, fire and police departments, county agencies, schools and other local agencies attended the workshop, which was billed as the “first step” in forming an official Will County PIO Network.

Will County Emergency Management Agency Director Allison Anderson

The goal of the developing such a network is to increase collaboration and host regular trainings on best practices for media coordination and the use of public information tools.

“This is the first time in several years that the county has been able to host an event focused on providing best practices for communicating public information during an emergency or disaster,” Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant said in a statement. “By increasing collaboration between local governments and agencies, we’re helping each other plan ahead for any scenario.”

Workshop attendees received what the county described as a “crash course in emergency management public communications” from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Communications.

The workshop also featured discussions on responding to weather emergencies with speakers from the National Weather Service.

“Collaboration is critical during any emergency and these workshops are an opportunity to strengthen local connections,” Will County EMA Director Allison Anderson said. “I look forward to continuing to work with local governments, organizations and nonprofits on future presentations and workshops.”

The workshop is part of a larger effort by the Will County EMA to increase public outreach and awareness of preparedness resources in emergency situations.

Earlier in 2023, the department released a new “Ready Will County” smartphone app for residents who wish to receive timely alerts about local emergency situations.

Information about the app and other emergency preparedness resources can be found on willcountyema.org.