Illinois Emergency Management and Homeland Security Authorities Summarized.
CRS Report for Congress
Illinois Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Authorities Summarized
March 23, 2004
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
L. Cheryl Runyon and Kae M. Warnock
Government and Finance Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Illinois Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Authorities Summarized
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act outlines the state and local
governments’ roles and responsibilities in emergency management. The statute
authorizes disaster victims to receive special assistance from the state. The
Governor’s Succession Act and the Emergency Interim Executive Successors Act
outline provisions for the continuity of Illinois government operations. Other acts
require emergency evacuation plans for people with disabilities and authorizations
for certified local employees to take leave to provide assistance. When funds are not
sufficient in the state’s disaster relief fund, the governor is authorized to transfer or
borrow funds if the General Assembly is not in session, or to request legislative
action if the assembly is in session. The statute authorizes municipalities to impose
taxes, within limits, to fund disaster services.
This report is one of a series that profiles the emergency management and
homeland security statutory authorities of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each profile identifies the
more significant elements of state statutes, generally as codified. Congressional
readers may wish to conduct further searches for related provisions using the Internet
link presented in the last section of this report. The National Conference of State
Legislatures provided primary research assistance in the development of these
profiles under contract to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Summary
information on all of the profiles is presented in CRS Report RL32287. This report
will be updated as developments warrant.
Entities with Key Responsibilities.................................1
Types of Assistance............................................4
Continuity of Government Operations..............................6
For Further Research...........................................8
List of Tables
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security Terms Defined in
Illinois Statutes, with Citations...................................7
Illinois Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Authorities Summarized
Entities with Key Responsibilities
Governor: The governor has general direction and control of the Illinois
Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and is authorized to: make, amend, and
rescind orders, rules and regulations; procure and pre-position supplies, medicines
and equipment; provide training and public information programs; mobilize
emergency services in advance of actual disaster; undertake studies and surveys of
industries and facilities to determine capabilities; and negotiate and submit to the
General Assembly reciprocal mutual aid agreements and compacts (20 ILCS
§3305/6). During an emergency, the governor may: exercise emergency powers for
a maximum period of 30 days and suspend certain regulatory statutes, especially if
they hinder emergency purchases by IEMA; use state government resources as
needed; transfer personnel and functions of state departments; acquire personal
property, including vehicles, fuel, explosives, materials, equipment, food, medicine
and other supplies; use or occupy real estate (provided compensation provisions are
met); recommend evacuations, prescribe routes and destination; suspend the sale of
alcohol, firearms, explosives, combustibles; make temporary housing available;
ration food, fuel, and other commodities; promote safety and protection of civilian
population; serve as commander-in-chief of militia; and prohibit price increases for
goods and services during a disaster (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/7).
The governor is authorized to determine which municipalities require
emergency services and disaster agencies, and may direct that such entities be
established (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/10(d)).
Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA): Agency officials are
authorized to: participate in the development of political subdivisions’ emergency
operations plans; promulgate rules and requirements for local governments’ plans;
make field examinations where plans will apply; coordinate overall emergency
management for state; cooperate with all levels of governments to implement the
program for mitigation, preparation, response and recovery; prepare executive orders
for the governor; determine state requirements for food, clothing, and necessities in
order to prepare for disasters; establish a registry of people with skills in areas of
mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery; establish a registry of state and
private response resources; expand earthquake awareness programs; maintain a list
of schools, hospitals, airports, power plants, and other facilities at greatest risk of
damage from earthquakes; share information on river and stream water levels; and
develop agreements with medical supply and equipment firms to supply resources to
respond to an earthquake or other disaster (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/5).
Director IEMA: The director is appointed by the governor and serves as head
of the state Emergency Response Commission. The director also carries out the
emergency management program in the state and serves as a liaison with other state
and federal emergency management organizations (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20
Emergency Management Advisory Committee: IEMA and political subdivisions
are encouraged to form a committee composed of public and private personnel who
represent emergency management phases of mitigation, preparedness, response and
recovery (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/5(e)).
Emergency services and disasters agencies: Each political subdivision must
maintain an emergency services and disasters agency and works within the
jurisdiction of, and is served by, IEMA. Each agency must: provide annual notice
to IEMA of the manner in which emergency management services are provided;
submit pursuant to IEMA standards an emergency operations plan; and provide a
statement of emergency responsibilities of all local departments and officials and the
disaster chain of command (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/10 (a)-(h)).
Coordinator: Each emergency services and disasters agency has a coordinator
who is responsible for organizing, training, administering, and operating the
emergency services and disaster agency (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/10(i)).
See “Entities with Key Responsibilities,”—Governor.
IEMA must cooperate with the Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety on the
development of a comprehensive emergency preparedness and response plan for a
nuclear accident (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/5(f)2.5). Also, IEMA must
coordinate with the Illinois Department of Public Health with respect to planning for
public health emergencies (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/5(f)2.6).
The governor is to: prepare a comprehensive plan that addresses mitigation,
response, and emergency relief needs; identify most vulnerable areas; make
recommendations for zoning, building and land use controls and other mitigation
measures; assist political subdivisions with emergency operations plans and
temporary works to reduce the impact of a disaster; distribute a catalog of state and
federal assistance programs; organize the state chain of command; and coordinate
state, local, and federal emergency management activities (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann.
The statute limits testing of outdoor disaster warning devices monthly or during
disaster training exercises (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/12).
The statute directs the governor, director of IEMA, and political subdivision
officials to use staff, services, equipment, supplies, and facilities of public agencies
during an emergency (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/19).
Auxiliary policemen shall only be assigned specific duties, including to aid in
the control of natural or man-made disasters or civil disorders, as directed by the
chief of police (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.65 §5/3.1-30-20).
School buildings must be made available as civil defense shelters in
coordination with IEMA. School officials must cooperate with local organizations
and federal agencies to make space available for food and other provisions, with
regard to the use of resources and equipment, and in the construction of new
buildings to ensure that shelter facilities are provided (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.105
The Illinois Nuclear Safety Preparedness Act requires the assessment of
potential nuclear accidents, their consequences, and the actions required to mitigate
the effects of nuclear accidents (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.420 §5/2 et seq.).
The Illinois Chemical Safety Act requires development of an adequate plan to
respond to chemical substances that may be released, and calls for the identification
of causes of release, notification procedures, and a list of emergency equipment (Ill.
Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.430 §45/3 et seq.).
The Emergency Evacuation Plan for People with Disabilities Act requires that
by Jan. 1, 2004, every owner of a high rise building (80 feet or more in height) in a
municipality of one million population or more must establish and maintain an
emergency evacuation plan for disabled occupants who notify the owner of need for
assistance. The provision applies to hotels and motels. The plan must be made
available to police and fire departments (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.430 §1301/1 et
The governor or director of IEMA may establish mobile support teams to aid
and reinforce IEMA and local emergency services in disaster areas. The state is
authorized to reimburse a local government for employees serving with the support
team. The statute requires that worker’s compensation benefits be provided. Out-of-
state teams are to be reimbursed in accordance with the applicable mutual aid
agreement. Illinois teams may only be sent out-of-state after a request has been made
by the governor of another state (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/8).
The governor is authorized to proclaim that a disaster exists. Such a
proclamation activates the state emergency operations plan. The governor has
authority to deploy and use forces and distribute supplies, equipment, materials and
facilities (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/7 (a)(11)).
The principal executive officer of an affected political subdivision is authorized
to issue a local disaster declaration for a maximum period of seven days, unless the
governing board approves an extension. The order must be filed with the county,
township, or municipal clerk (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/11).
During a state of emergency, each mayor has powers to respond, as authorized
by ordinances that establish standards for determining when a state of emergency
exists. The mayor must sign a statement that an emergency exists based on fact
finding, and then declares state of emergency. The state of emergency expires not
later than the adjournment of the first regular meeting of corporate authorities after
an emergency has been declared (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.65 §5/11-1-6).
Types of Assistance
If the federal government offers aid, the governor or the designated person for
a political subdivision is authorized to accept services, equipment, supplies, and
funds (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/17).
A family that is homeless and deprived of furniture or clothing as a result of a
fire, flood, or natural disaster may seek assistance from Department of Public Aid
(Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.305 §5/4-12).
Local governmental units can provide up to $1,500 in household assistance for
food and temporary shelter after the President issues a major disaster declaration, if
the local government unit is within the designated area. Cash or voucher assistance
is not provided from the state fund (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.305 §5/6-9).
The governor is authorized to negotiate and submit to the General Assembly
reciprocal mutual aid agreements and compacts (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §33-
The coordinator of each local emergency services and disaster agency is
authorized to collaborate with other public agencies for reciprocal disaster response
and recovery assistance. Such agreements must be approved by all involved political
subdivisions. The coordinator may negotiate mutual aid agreements with other
states, at the IEMA director’s approval (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/13).
If the need exists, a person licensed elsewhere may, as a member of a mobile
support team or a unit from another state, render aid during a disaster, and is
authorized to practice his or her profession without an Illinois license (Ill. Comp.
Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/16).
The Emergency Management Assistance Compact is codified (Ill. Comp. Stat.
Ann. ch.45 §15/1 et seq.).
The September 11th fund provides aid for victims of terrorism as well as local
government grants for training and equipment for public safety initiatives to prevent
terrorism, disasters, or other emergency situations. “September 11” license plate
proceeds serve as the source of money for the fund (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.625
The governor must first use general appropriations, then money in the disaster
relief fund to meet emergency needs. If funds are insufficient, the governor may
request that the General Assembly enact legislation to transfer and spend funds
appropriated for other purposes, or borrow from the U.S. government or other public
or private sources. The governor is authorized to re-appropriate funds if the General
Assembly is not in session until the legislature can convene in regular or
extraordinary session. The governor may apply for, administer, and expend grants
and gifts (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/9).
If appropriated funds are insufficient and the governor has declared a disaster,
he or she can draw on the disaster relief fund to provide services, and to reimburse
local governments that furnish services. The fund may be used to pay emergency
employees, the national guard, disaster-related expenses for state agencies, and
emergency purchases made by departments. The fund is to be used to furnish
emergency services and relief to a disaster area, not to provide private relief to
individuals (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.15 §30/3).
A municipality is authorized to levy a tax annually for emergency services and
disaster operations, not to exceed 0.05% on the assessed value of taxable property.
The amount to be collected cannot exceed $.25 per capita (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann.
The Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Reimbursement Act established
a fund to ease financial hardships for communities responding to emergency
incidents involving hazardous materials, if costs are not paid for by the responsible
party. The state fire marshal administers the fund (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.430
See “Entities with Key Responsibilities,”—Governor and “Preparedness.”
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is authorized to designate the 100-
year floodway in northeastern Illinois. Construction is prohibited in the floodways,
except if in relation to an appropriate use of floodway. No building permits may be
issued within a 100-year floodway (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.615 §5/18g).
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is authorized to inspect and
establish standards for the construction of new dams or the reconstruction or repair
of dams. If a dam is unsafe, the department must notify city or county public
officials, the state’s attorney and IEMA. Other administrative requirements are
specified to mitigate potential damage. The statute provides liability protection for
the department and its employees from damages associated with the failure of a dam
(Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.615 §5/23a).
Continuity of Government Operations
The statute provides lines of succession to the office of the governor with seven
successors (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.15 §5/1). All elected or appointed state officers
are authorized to designate emergency interim successors (after their deputy) and
specify their order of succession. Local legislative bodies have authority to enact
resolutions and ordinances on filling vacancies. Local officers designate emergency
interim successor and order of succession. Emergency interim successors are
required to take the oath of office and may exercise powers only after attack on the
United States. Local interim successors may exercise powers after a disaster within
their political subdivisions. The General Assembly may terminate the authority of
an emergency interim successor. Designees serve at the pleasure of the designating
authority and can be removed or replaced at any time, with or without cause ( Ill.
Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.5 §275/1 et seq.).
During an emergency that prevents government operations in Springfield, the
governor shall declare emergency temporary location(s) for the government within
or without the state. The emergency location remains the seat of government until
the general assembly establishes by law a new location(s), or the governor declares
that the emergency has ended (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.5 §195/0.01 et seq.). If an
emergency results from enemy attack, the governing body of a political subdivision
may meet at any place within or without territorial limits on the call of the presiding
officer or two members of the governing body. A governing body is authorized to
establish emergency locations where public business may be transacted (Ill. Comp.
Stat. Ann. ch.50 §5/0.01 et seq.).
A county board may provide for the continuity of administrative and legislative
functions in the event of an enemy attack on the United States (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann.
ch.55 §5/5-1075). Each Local Records Commission, with the assistance of the
Secretary of State and State Archivist, must establish a system to protect or preserve
essential local records necessary for the continuity of government in the event of an
emergency from natural disaster or enemy action and assist with the reestablishment
of local government. Each commission determines what records are essential
through consultation with all branches of government, state agencies, and the civilian
defense agency, and provides for the storage and relocation of records (Ill. Comp.
Stat. Ann. ch.50 §205/11,12).
The statute provides immunity from liability for death or injury during
emergency management response and recovery (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20
Liability protection is provided for any real estate owner who allows the use of
property to shelter persons during disaster or exercise, contracts with the state or a
political subdivision in response to an emergency, or renders advice or assistance
during an emergency (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/21).
A state agency employee certified as a disaster service volunteer with the
American Red Cross is granted leave with pay for a maximum period of 20 days in
a 12-month period at the request of the Red Cross, and if agency approves. The
employee does not suffer a loss of seniority, pay, vacation or sick leave time, if the
disaster occurs within Illinois (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.5 §335/1).
The Local Government Disaster Service Volunteer Act provides that an
employee of a local agency certified to serve as a disaster service volunteer is granted
leave for a maximum period of 20 days in a 12 month period to participate in disaster
relief services for the American Red Cross without loss of vacation, seniority or other
benefits. The agency must compensate the employee at the regular rate of pay for a
disaster within the state (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.50 §122/1 et seq.).
The statute requires IEMA personnel to take an oath (Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Terms Defined in Illinois Statutes, with Citations
AttackIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.5 §275/3
CoordinatorIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/4
Chemical substanceIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.430 §45/3
DisasterIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch. §§275/3,
Disaster areaIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.15 §30/1
Disaster training exerciseIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/4
Emergency actionIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.430 §55/3(a)
Emergency interim successorIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.5 §275/3
Emergency managementIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/4
Emergency management services andIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/4
Emergency operations planIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/4
Emergency response agencyIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.430 §55/3(b)
Emergency servicesIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/4
First responderIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.210§50/3.60
Illinois Emergency Management Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20
Agency (IEMA)§§3305/4, ch. 430 §45/3
Local emergency planning committeeIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.430 §45/3
Mobile support teamIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.20 §3305/4
ReleaseIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.430 §45/3
Significant releaseIll. Comp. Stat. Ann. ch.430 §45/3
For Further Research
The citations noted above and other elements of the state code for Illinois may
be searched at: [http://www.legis.state.il.us/legislation/ilcs/ilcs.asp].