You are not alone.

Illinois Extension's experienced educators can help communities navigate the many elements of disaster preparedness plans. 

County and community-level activities

  • Mitigation planning with counties
  • Assistance in grants and update plans
  • Develop Assistance/Outreach for different types of preparedness
  • Non-profits dedicated to emergency response, youth, community members, organizations, animals/veterinary
  • Public education and resources
  • COAD development and emergency action planning for the different response entity types

Community leaders need to know

  • What plans are in place and what is your role
  • How to support your first responders
  • How a disaster should begin and end locally (in so much as where efforts come from)
  • The amount of recovery level or capacity can compare to PREPAREDNESS and MITIGATION
  • How to keep dialogues, checks, and information circulating – all communities could have a disaster (every county has had a federal disaster declaration at some point).

Available Disaster Preparedness Help

  • Organizational Preparedness
  • Community / Family Preparedness
  • E.R. Non-Profit Preparedness
  • Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) Development
  • Domestic/Wild Animal
  • County Mitigation Plans

You are stronger together

Community Organizations Active in Disaster is the development of committees who focus on donations, public health, volunteers, education/training, agriculture, mental health, animals/pets/vet, shelter – whatever the community chooses in regard to what their assets are. Perhaps a community COAD wants a business committee or one focused on food or vulnerable populations. COAD members meet often to train together and stay engaged. 

Why have COADs? Having COADS can improve response time, effectiveness, and community recovery. Extension educators are a strong resource in COAD development, they can access resources and templates that are best models for different types of communities. Learn how you can begin.

A roadmap to relief

Federal Funding Streams and Post-Disaster Community Best Practices

When disaster strikes a community local residents and leaders may not know all of the resources that are available to help them as they navigate the post-disaster recovery process. To address this issue, Illinois Extension staff received a USDA Special Needs Grant to develop a publication to support communities and individuals after a disaster strikes.

  • The first section provides a series of federal funding matrices detailing the different response and recovery funds that are available to communities and individuals.
  • The second section includes community case studies with two Illinois and two Nebraska communities that successfully navigated the post-disaster recovery process. T


  • Zach Kennedy, University of Illinois Extension
  • Carrie McKillip, University of Illinois Extension
  • Susan Odum, University of Illinois Extension
  • Ashley Mueller, University of Nebraska Extension
  • Rebecca Carolina, University of Illinois, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Gabriel Guevara, University of Illinois, Department of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Rojan Joseph, University of Illinois, Department of Urban and Regional Planning

About USDA Special Needs Projects - The Smith-Lever Special Needs Competitive Grant Program supports innovative, education-based approaches to addressing emergency preparedness and specific responses related to natural and human-made disasters. Funded grant projects help Cooperative Extension to support quality of life in communities across the United States by addressing disaster preparedness, response, and recovery in the context of food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences. USDA NIFA funds Special Needs projects  provides information and tools to stakeholders, collaborators and USDA to improve decision making in handling natural and human-made disasters.

The support you need from the people you trust

Duane Friend

Duane Friend

State Master Naturalist and Climate Change Specialist
Urban Gardening
Master Naturalist
PSEP Training
Small Farms
(217) 243-7424
Carrie McKillip

Carrie McKillip

Community and Economic Development Educator
Business Development
Business Retention and Expansion
Civic Engagement
Community Development
Community Planning
Community Resiliency
Consumer Economics
Disaster Preparedness
Economic Development
EDEN Ready Business
Local Government
Workforce Development
(309) 342-5108
Susan Odum

Susan Odum

Community and Economic Development Specialist
Community Development
Business Development
Economic Development