200 S. Hough Street  Barrington, IL 60010 | (847) 304-3400

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Emergency Management

Emergency Management (EM) functions for the Village are a joint effort of all operating departments, with the Village Manager’s Office, Fire, Police and Public Works Department performing lead roles. In order to assure full coordination of our efforts, the Village has formed an interdepartmental Emergency Management Team, which meets approximately twice a month. The EM Team coordinates emergency preparedness training, exercises, and communications.

The Village’s emergency management initiatives include:

Emergency Notification System

Emergency Response Training


Help with Developing Emergency Plans

Home Preparedness: Emergency Kit

Home Preparedness: Make a Family Emergency Plan

Illinois Public Works Mutual Aid Network

More Emergency Preparedness Information

National Incident Management System (NIMS) Compliance

Obtaining Emergency Information

Personal Preparedness: Having a Travel Emergency Kit

Planning to Stay or Go

Railroad Hazards

Severe Storms


 Emergency Operations Plan

The Village of Barrington Emergency Operations Plan defines the emergency response roles and responsibilities of various Village personnel in the event that an emergency occurs. The plan addresses a wide variety of potential emergency scenarios such as severe weather, public health emergencies, and hazardous material releases.

The Emergency Management Team regularly reviews the plan and updates it, to reflect the latest in emergency response methodology. To view a copy of the current Emergency Operations Plan, contact the Fire Department directly.

NIMS Compliance 

NIMS stands for “National Incident Management System”, an initiative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). NIMS is a standardized system for emergency operations and terminology that will eventually be utilized for every unit of government in the United States. The need for a standardized system was dramatically highlight by both the 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina disasters.

FEMA has directed that local jurisdictions become NIMS compliant (adopt certain practices and have personnel attain NIMS certifications). In order to be eligible for federal funding for emergency management. The Village of Barrington is 100% NIMS compliant. More importantly, the Village is recognized as a leader in local government emergency management planning and NIMS compliance. It also should be noted that the State of Illinois is considered to be one of the most emergency-ready states in the country.

EmeRgency Response Training 

All Village of Barrington “first responder” employees, such as Police, Fire, and certain Public Works personnel, undergo regular emergency response training as part of their employment. In addition to this, the Village, provides training to all of its employees, to prepare them to effectively react to emergencies and to prepare them to assume special roles and responsibilities that may be necessary when emergencies occur.

The Village also regularly conducts training and exercises for employees, such as setting up a mock emergency operations center and conducting exercises such as the simulated distribution of medications.

Emergency Notification System 

The Village of Barrington provides instant communication to our residents via Everbridge service (“reverse 9-1-1”). This service allows you to opt-in to receive notifications via phone calls, text messaging, e-mail, and more based on locations you care about. You can choose to receive notifications about events that may affect your home, workplace, family’s schools and more. This system will be used to notify you about imminent threats to health and safety, as well as informational notifications that affect your locations or work environments. The information that you provide will be used only for the Village of Barrington for notification purposes. We will not give or sell your contact or location information to any vendor or other organization. View our FAQ document for answers to frequently asked questions.

sign up for notifications powered by everbridge

Illinois Public Works Mutual Aid Network

The Village is a member of the Illinois Public Works Mutual Aid Network which provides public works assistance to communities during emergencies. For more information regarding this organization, visit www.ipwman.org.


Emergency Preparedness Information

Note: Much of the following material is adapted from www.ready.gov, the emergency preparedness website of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This site is a great resource to utilize. In addition, at the end of this page, there are other websites you may also wish to check out.

emergency kit

Home Preparedness: Emergency Kit

A great way for your family to be prepared for a wide range of emergencies is to make a Home Emergency Kit. In a widespread disaster or emergency, it is possible that help might not be able to arrive for hours, or possibly even for days, which will leave you to survive on your own in the mean time. Having a Home Emergency Kit can make a huge difference. For a basic Home Emergency Kit, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends as follows:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

FEMA also recommends considering the following additional items

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes.
  • Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

FEMA pack

Home Preparedness: Make a Family Emergency Plan

Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.

  • Identify an out-of town contact. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
  • Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins, or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.
  • Teach family members how to use text messaging (also known as SMS or Short Message Service). Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.
  • Subscribe to the Village’s community notification system. This system will send instant text alerts or e-mails to let you know official Village warnings and other emergency information. Sign up for alerts.
Make a Family Emergency plan

Planning to Stay or Go 

Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the emergency, the first important decision is whether you stay where you are or evacuate. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. Use common sense and available information, including what you are learning here, to determine if there is an immediate danger. In any emergency, local authorities may or may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for information or official instruction as it becomes available. Visit ready.gov/shelter for further information on staying put or sheltering in place.

Obtaining Emergency Information 

Everyone should find out what kinds of disasters, both natural and man-made, are most likely to occur where they live, and how they will be notified. In the Village of Barrington, severe weather (winter or summer), tornadoes and localized flooding are currently seen as the most likely disasters for our town. For tornadoes and severe winds, the Village will activate its outdoor emergency sirens. (These sirens are also tested on the first Tuesday of each month, at 10:00 a.m.) To the extent that we are able, we also will utilize our community notification program, website messages, warnings on Village Cable Channel 4, and the community events electronic sign, to broadcast emergency information. Area-wide, the two county emergency management agencies and the National Weather Service also use emergency radio and TV warnings.

Help with Developing Emergency Plans 

You can use the online Family Emergency Planning Tool created by the Ready Campaign in conjunction with the Ad Council, to prepare a printable Comprehensive Family Emergency Plan.

You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together in the event of an emergency. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance.

Personal Preparedness: Having a Travel Emergency Kit in Every Vehicle 

Having a travel emergency kit will help you be prepared not only for “normal” road emergencies, but will help you deal with disaster situations on the road, whether caused by severe weather, impassable roads, the need to evacuate, or any cause. At minimum, a vehicle emergency kit should contain the following:

  • Flashlight
  • Flares or reflective triangle
  • Distress sign
  • Telephone change
  • First aid supplies
  • Basic tools
  • Fully charged cell phone

Other recommended items are:

  • Boots
  • Hat
  • Coat
  • Gloves
  • Jumper cables
  • Carpet strips, sand or kitty litter for traction
  • Ice scraper and brush
  • Blanket
  • Chocolate candy
emergency travel kit


Advance planning and quick response are the keys to surviving a tornado. Everyone should be aware of the signs of an approaching tornado. Tornado danger signs can include:

  • An approaching cloud of debris or a funnel cloud. Sometimes an approaching cloud of debris indicates a tornado, even if a funnel cloud is not visible.
  • Still air. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.
  • Thunderstorms. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

In addition to conducting a tornado drill each year in late winter or early spring, your family can prepare for tornadoes by making sure you have the right equipment and supplies on hand. See the section above, on creating a home emergency kit. Finally, if you are caught in a tornado, remember that the best places to be are:

  • In a storm shelter specifically designed for that use (Visit tornadoproject.com for more information on storm shelters)- within the basement or outside the home entirely. Some companies manufacture pre-fab shelters that you drop into a hole in the ground, and that can even blend in with home landscaping.

  • In a basement, away from the west and south walls. Hiding under a heavy work-table or under the stairs will protect the family from crumbling walls, chimneys, and large airborne debris falling into the cellar. Old blankets, quilts and an unused mattress will protect against flying debris, but they should be stored in the shelter area. Precious time can be lost by trying to find these items at the last minute.

  • In a small, windowless, first floor, interior room, such as a closet or bathroom. The bathtub and commode are sometimes tied directly into the ground, and may be the only things left in place after the tornado. Getting into the bathtub with a couch cushion over you gives you protection on all sides, as well as an extra anchor to the foundation. Plumbing pipes may or may not help hold the walls together, but all the extra framing that it takes to put a bathroom together may make a big difference. If there is no downstairs bathroom and the closets are all packed with “stuff,” a hall may be the best shelter. Put as many walls as you can between yourself and the tornado. In a pinch, put a metal trash over as much of you as you can. It will keep some flying debris from injuring you.

Wherever it is, the shelter should be well known by each member of the family. If you and your family conducts annual emergency drills (fire, tornado, etc), everyone will remember what to do and where to go when a tornado is approaching–automatically and without panic.

Tornado Sirens

Barrington maintains a system of outdoor warning sirens too alert the public.  In the event that a tornado has been sighted and is approaching the community, the sirens will emit a steady tone.  The tone will last 3 to 5 minutes.  If you hear this tone during severe weather, seek shelter immediately. Shelter in a substantial building (i.e., not a shed) is preferred.  However, if you are stuck outdoors, seek shelter in a ditch, ravine, or other low lying area.

Please note that the sirens are tested on the first Tuesday of every month at 10:00 a.m.


Severe Storms

Barrington can be affected by severe weather in any season of the year. Severe weather can cause power outages, road closures, and other disruptions. Be prepared to “weather the storm”, by following these guidelines:

If you’re inside when severe weather strikes:

  • Avoid contact with corded phones, electrical equipment and plumbing.
  • Don’t use your cell phone during a thunderstorm.
  • Don’t wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes or do laundry.
  • Stay away from windows, doors and concrete items.

If you’re outdoors when severe weather strikes:

  • Seek shelter when you first see dark clouds, lightning or hear thunder.
  • Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible.
  • Get out of water and avoid metal. They both can carry an electrical current.
  • Get inside a completely enclosed building immediately if one is accessible.
  • Don’t go into a carport, open garage or covered patio.
  • If you can’t find a completely enclosed building, find a hard-topped, all-metal vehicle.
  • Avoid leaning against vehicles. Get off bicycles and motorcycles.
  • If you’re in a group of people, spread out.
  • Stay away from tall, isolated objects.
  • If you’re driving during a thunderstorm, get off the road. A lightning bolt could strike your car and temporarily blind you. See driving safety tips for every weather situation.
  • If you’re boating or swimming, get to shore immediately.
Severe Storms


Barrington sometimes experiences localized flooding due to excessive rainfall. This is sometimes worsened by spring snow melt situations. When flooding occurs, follow these safety tips:

For Drivers:

  • If you are driving and come upon an area where water is completely covering the road, don’t attempt to drive through it—you don’t know how deep the water is, and as little as 18 inches of water can lift a car!
  • Be wary of any areas where flood waters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.

At Home:

  • Develop and practice a ‘family escape’ plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
  • Make an itemized list of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
  • Plan what to do with your pets.
  • Bring outside possessions inside the house or tie them down securely. This includes lawn furniture, garbage cans, and other movable objects.
  • If there is time, move essential items and furniture to upper floors in the house. Disconnect electrical appliances that cannot be moved. DO NOT touch them if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Avoid moving water.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
  • Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.

If You Have to Evacuate:

  • Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry.
  • If you are told to shut off water, gas, or electrical services before leaving, do so.
  • If you evacuate, secure your home: lock doors and windows.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.

Railroad Hazards

Barrington is crisscrossed by both the Union Pacific/Metra and the EJ&E/CN railroads. With the CN Railroad purchase of the EJ&E, we will see substantially increased amounts of rail freight traffic rolling through town. Aside from the “normal” hazards at grade crossings, freight trains and the cargo they carry, have the potential for creating additional hazards. Here are some railroad safety tips:

Pedestrian Safety:

  • The only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing with either a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate. If you cross at any other place, you are trespassing and can be ticketed or fined. Cross tracks ONLY at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.
  • Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property and trespassers are subject to arrest and fine. If you are in a rail yard uninvited by a railroad official you are trespassing and subject to criminal prosecution.
  • It can take a mile or more to stop a train, so a locomotive engineer who suddenly sees someone on the tracks will likely be unable to stop in time. Railroad property is private property. For your safety, it is illegal to be there unless you are at a designated public crossing.
  • Trains overhang the tracks by at least three feet in both directions; loose straps hanging from rail cars may extend even further. If you are in the right-of-way next to the tracks, you can be hit by the train.
  • Do not cross the tracks immediately after a train passes. A second train might be blocked by the first. Trains can come from either direction. Wait until you can see clearly around the first train in both directions.
  • Flashing red lights indicate a train is approaching from either direction. You can be fined for failure to obey these signals. Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing, and DO NOT cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing and it’s safe to do so.
  • Do not hunt, fish or bungee jump from railroad trestles. There is only enough clearance on the tracks for a train to pass. Trestles are not meant to be sidewalks or pedestrian bridges! Never walk, run, cycle or operate all terrain vehicles (ATVs) on railroad tracks, rights-of-way or through tunnels.
  • Do not attempt to hop aboard railroad equipment at any time. A slip of the foot can cost you a limb or your life.
  • Be aware trains do not follow set schedules. Any Time is Train Time!

Vehicle Safety:

  • Trains and cars don’t mix. Never race a train to the crossing — even if you tie, you lose.
  • The train you see is closer and faster moving than you think. If you see a train approaching, wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.
  • Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That’s 18 football fields!
  • Never drive around lowered gates — it’s illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
  • Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
  • If your vehicle ever stalls on a track with a train coming, get out immediately and move quickly away from the tracks in the direction from which the train is coming. If you run in the same direction the train is traveling, when the train hits your car you could be injured by flying debris. Call your local law enforcement agency for assistance.
  • At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.
  • When you need to cross train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways, and cross the tracks quickly, without stopping. Remember it isn’t safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a rail.
  • ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN! Freight trains do not follow set schedules.

In the Event of an Emergency:

  • If you witness a train incident of any sort, the most important thing you can do is call 9-1-1.
  • Use caution– train derailments can be especially dangerous. Freight trains frequently carry various types of hazardous materials, including materials that may be combustible, corrosive, toxic, explosive, or even radioactive. Never approach the scene of a derailment.
  • If you are in your car at the scene of a derailment, immediately drive away, if it is safe to do so. If it is not safe to drive, immediately turn off and exit your vehicle, and walk quickly away from the scene, watching out for other vehicles and hazards as you do so.
  • If you are on foot at the scene of a derailment, immediately walk quickly away, watching out for vehicles and other hazards as you do so.
  • Never walk into or through a cloud or smoke from derailed train cars. These clouds or smoke may contain toxic fumes. Get yourself away from the scene, and always head upwind.
  • If you are in your home when a rail incident occurs, call 9-1-1 immediately. Do not approach the scene; you will only increase your exposure to danger. When emergency responders arrive, you may be advised to either shelter in place or evacuate, if hazardous materials are present.
  • If you are told to shelter in place due to hazardous materials:
    • Close all doors & windows. Seal with tape or wet towels.
    • Turn off air conditioners, heaters and fans.
    • Don’t use fire places. Extinguish the fire. Close damper.
    • Do not go to schools to pick up children. Children will be cared for by school personnel.
    • Listen to TV or radio for information.
  • If you are told to evacuate due to hazardous materials:
    • Leave as soon as you can.
    • If time permits, remember to take your pets with you.
    • Help any neighbors who may need special assistance
    • Take your pre-assembled “Go Kit”.
  • Return only when told by authorities that it is safe to do so.

More Emergency Preparedness Information

Additional information on emergency preparedness is available from several sources. Here are some you may wish to check out: