I would like to welcome everyone to the 17th Annual Illinois Emergency Management Agency Conference. Each year this conference continues to grow as the direct result of both the dedication of our participants to attend such an important training event and the depth of knowledge our attendees bring to the many discussions. Illinois is no stranger to challenges and the past year was certainly no exception. Record flooding was experienced in nearly half the state with four major river systems breaking all-time records almost simultaneously. Your response to this major threat was a testament to your competence, training and cooperation, as nearly 50 counties received Individual and/or Public Assistance. Over $130 million in Individual Assistance has been granted to more than 60,000 people across our state and none of that is possible without the tireless efforts of local public safety and emergency management personnel. When combined with the $70,000,000 in Public Assistance the spring flooding of 2013 was one of the most costly disasters in our state's history, but it also provided another proof of concept for the effectiveness of our many statewide mutual aid systems. Without these systems, there is no doubt that the response would have been degraded and more lives and property lost.
As always, there are many tasks that lie ahead of us to ensure we are staying at the forefront of preparedness to protect the citizens of Illinois. In the next twelve months we will be participating in two of the largest exercises in state history to evaluate our ability to handle a catastrophic-level event. In May FEMA Region V is running an Improvised Nuclear Device exercise in Chicago, followed in June by a 22-state exercise simulating an earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone in the central U.S. Both types of disasters would involve the total mobilization of public safety resources in Illinois, and these exercises will serve to test the limits of our capabilities. Additionally, the next year will also see statewide roll-outs of our new Ready Campus and Ready Schools programs designed to improve the safety of our most valuable assets: our children. While I know this makes for a full schedule, I also know the men and women charged with protecting our citizens are equal to the task.
Thank you again for your attendance at the conference. Please remember to take the time to network with your peers to learn from the countless years of experience in attendance and let us know how we can best continue to serve you.
Jonathon E. Monken, Director